After the favorable reviews following its autumn rendition of “Pagliacci,” Mobile Opera is ready to welcome spring with lighter fare. The company will take the stage of The Temple Downtown (351 St. Francis St.) with Giacomo Puccini’s comedic work “Gianni Schicchi” in the first days of April.

Written almost exactly 100 years ago, the one-act opera is inspired by a minor character in Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” whose duplicity and avarice landed him in Hell’s Circle of Impersonators. Set in 1299 Florence, it centers on the machinations and pettiness common with inheritances.

Puccini was afraid the work would be poorly received due to the dire climate produced by World War I and it proved to be his last completed work. This will be the fourth piece in Mobile Opera’s Puccini Project, designed to produce all of his operatic works.
The production is conducted by Bernard McDonald and under the stage direction of Bill Fabris. It stars Joshua Jeremiah as Gianni Schicchi, Bray Wilkins as Rinuccio, Angela Mannino as Lauretta, Tjaden O’Dowd Cox as Nella and Thomas Rowell as Gerardo.

Friday, April 1, curtain is at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 3, matinee is at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $45, $10 for students.

For tickets and subscriptions call Mobile Opera Box Office, 251-432-6772, or visit The Larkins Music Center, 257 Dauphin St., Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More information can be found at mobileopera.org.

Gulf fisheries featured at Science Cafe

A group known as the Alabama Center for Ecological Resilience (ACER) has been studying near-shore habitats from its headquarters on Dauphin Island. When BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill shocked Gulf coastal communities, it also provided an opportunity for reassessment.

ACER principal investigator Dr. John Valentine will lead the March 29 Science Café entitled “One Fish, Two Fish, Redfish, Goo Fish.” It takes place at the OK Bicycle Shop, 661 Dauphin St., at 6 p.m. and is sponsored by the USA Archaeology Museum and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Viewing the industrial calamity as a perfect example of a disturbance event, ACER adapted future plans. It will not only assess oil spill impacts on biodiversity, ecosystem processes and ecosystem services in these habitats but also test ecological theory that more diverse ecosystems are more resilient to disturbance.

The series of free events provide the opportunity to discuss science subjects in an informal setting with experts in given fields.
For more information call 251-460-6106 or go to southalabama.edu/org/archaeology/museum/.

MOJO rides with Bob James

Starting on the piano at age 4, keyboardist, arranger and producer Bob James built a reputation as one of the architects of smooth jazz. His journey first took him into regular gigs, road shows and resort engagements at age 16. After enrolling at the University of Michigan, he detoured to Berklee School of Music.

During the 1970s he dipped into the emerging smooth jazz camp during his time with Stanley Turrentine and Grover Washington Jr. After he produced a pair of successful albums by Maynard Ferguson, James found his own acclaim.

When his single “Angela” from the 1978 album “Touchdown” was chosen as the theme song for the TV show “Taxi,” the keyboardist entered the public consciousness. Later hits “Nautilus” and “Westchester Lady” along with collaborative work involving David Sanborn and Earl Klugh garnered him a pair of Grammy awards.

On Monday, March 28, 6:30 p.m., the Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed (MOJO) will salute James with a show developed by Dr. Raoul Richardson. The featured performers for the evening will be pianist Gino Rosaria, guitarist Jim Green, bassist Chris Snowden, drummer Rickey Duffy and Dutch percussionist Vernon Chatlein.

Entrance is $12, $10 for students and military, $8 for MOJO members. A light jambalaya dinner is included and a cash bar is available.

For more information, call 251-459-2298, go to mojojazz.org or email mobilejazz@bellsouth.net.

Art instructors needed for new project

Mobile Museum of Art is seeking art instructors eager to form a new “floating faculty” of artist/educators. MMoA is joining forces with Mobile Arts Council and Alabama Contemporary Arts Center to build a database named the Teaching Arts Project (TAP), to be implemented when teaching and residency opportunities arise in the area.

An initial meeting for this project will take place Thursday, March 24, 7 p.m. at MMoA, 4850 Museum Drive, for artists to sign up for the database, check out the museum’s updated education facilities and formulate a program roster. Participation that evening is free, with refreshments and entertainment provided.

MMoA’s Museum School is a pilot program focused on providing quality arts education for citizens of Mobile. It will utilize TAP to organize artist-led classes, tours, workshops, seminars and lectures in a wide variety of disciplines within the art museum and in outreach to off-site locations. The Museum School will also offer professional development workshops for TAP’s participating artists and teacher training for core outreach programs.

The long-range goal for fall of 2016 is for TAP to be a centralized resource connecting employable artists with museum curators, educators, arts administrators and others to enrich their community through arts education.