Though the season isn’t going full bore, there is plenty of opera news and events to keep area fans intrigued, running the gamut through Mobile Opera’s past, present and future.

From opera past, we get news that former Mobile Opera Director Jerome Shannon will be making the leap across state lines official. Shannon was announced as Pensacola Opera’s new executive director in mid-May, an ascension preceded by his role as its music director and principal conductor since 2002. He worked as artistic director for Mobile Opera until 2007, ending 10 years of service to the organization.

Auditions for the chorus of Mobile Opera will be held Aug. 25.

Auditions for the chorus of Mobile Opera will be held Aug. 25.

Shannon has three decades under his belt as a professional operatic pianist, vocal coach, conductor and administrator. In addition to his time in the Azalea City, he has held leadership positions with the Janiec Opera Company of the Brevard Music Center, Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston, Shreveport Opera and Virginia Opera.

Shannon will soon be making the physical move to the Sunshine State to be closer to work. While he hasn’t worked at Mobile Opera for eight years, it’s still bittersweet to lose another artistic citizen to our neighbor. Congrats to Shannon, though!

In the present, Mobile Opera’s monthly Night of Song takes place at Café 615 (615 Dauphin St.) on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 6:30 p.m. The event is a chance for music fans to get a sense of the talent employed by Mobile Opera, but in an intimate setting.

The cabaret of opera and musical theater is free but reservations are recommended. Call 251-432-6772 for more info.

Then, for all you aspiring vocalists, go ahead and mark Aug. 25 on your calendars. Mobile Opera will hold auditions for its chorus at 5:30 p.m. at the Larkins Music Center (257 Dauphin St.). The auditions are for new singers interested in adding their names to Mobile Opera’s chorus roster.
Those wishing to audition need to prepare an operatic aria or another selection appropriate to an opera setting. Make sure to bring a copy of your audition piece for the accompanist.

Audition times must be scheduled prior to the audition. For more info or to schedule an audition, contact Stacey Driskell at 251-432-6772 or email her at

International artist couple at USA Library
New York transplants Benno Kolleger and Regina Doi-Kolleger have been in Mobile only since 2013 but the husband-wife artists have made their presence felt. They had a 2014 show at Mobile Arts Council and now are featured in the show “The Two of Us” in the Mary Elizabeth and Charles Bernard Rodning Gallery at the University of South Alabama’s Marx Library (5901 USA Drive N.).

Austria-born husband and Tokyo-native wife have created large-scale paintings for the current exhibit. Kolleger’s series is “The 10,” a depiction of his interpretation of Judaism’s Mosaic Law through use of the human form.

Doi-Kolleger’s series is “Uma (the horse),” work influenced by movement of the equestrian form.

The exhibit will be in place through the end of August and admission is free. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 7:45 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday, 7:45 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, 1-9 p.m.
For more info call 251-460-7025 or go to

Fundraiser donations needed
The Mobile Arts Council (MAC) is gearing up for its signature fundraising event, the Arts Throwdown, which takes place on Friday, Sept. 18. Once again, the council invites area artists to donate works in support of their efforts through the silent auction that accompanies the competition.

MAC will take creative donations of all sorts — books, CDs, DVDs and visual art and crafts. Pony up for the cause and get a free ticket to the event.

If you want to donate, let MAC know as soon as you can. If you have a photo of the item, even better. Donations can be dropped off at MAC in a month’s time, Tuesday-Saturday, Sept. 1-5.
For more info, call 251-432-9796.