Cooper Union, a center of culture in Manhattan since its foundation in 1859 by Peter Cooper, will kick off CooperArts, its new fall series of arts programming, with Night Visions: A New Millennium Vampyre Opera, a collaboration between playwright Ruth Margraff and composer Fred Ho. The concert production will be performed two nights only, Oct. 1 and 2.
Cooper Union will continue the month-long series with an eclectic mix of artists from the worlds of literature, music and the performing arts. It is the center's hope to make CooperArts an annual occurrence. Each event will take place in the institution's famed Great Hall, at 7 E. 7th Street at Third Avenue.
Margraff has long been the darling of the Downtown set, an experimental playwright whose work is much admired but seldom seen. Her musical Cry Pitch Carrolls was done at HERE in fall 1998. Other works have been developed or produced by Lincoln Center Theater, the Public Theater and the Kitchen. A recipient of many grants and fellowship, she recently accepted a teaching gig at the University of Texas at Austin.
Fred Ho is an avant-garde writer, producer, composer, arranger and baritone saxophonist. Among his recordings are "Warrior Sisters" and "Monkey: Parts One and Two."
Night Vision was commissioned by the Salvage Vanguard Theater of Austin, TX. The opera dwells on the impact of celebrity, commercialism and multi-culturalism on art and life, focusing upon a popular, but mysterious, singer. The musical nature of the piece is described as "a fusion of 21st-century jazz and opera." The world premiere will be performed on Friday, Oct. 1, and Saturday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 PM each night Ticket prices are $15 general admission, $10 for students and seniors with valid ID. For information, call (212) 279-4200 or on the World Wide Web through TicketWeb (www.ticketweb.com).
-- By Robert Simonson