Night Vision, a new work by composer Fred Ho and playwright Ruth Margraff provocatively subtitled "A New Third to First World Vampyre Opera," concludes its Off-Off-Broadway premiere Feb. 19 at HERE in New York City. Previews began Jan. 26 for an opening Feb. 2. Tim Maner directs.
Night Vision is as peculiar as its full title would suggest. Fueled by Ho's hyperkinetic, Afro-Asian rhythms and Margraff's dense, theatrical text, it tells the story of a young woman whose unreal voice propels her to singing stardom. Little do her adoring fans realize, however, that she is a 2000-year-old vampyre who is managed by a figure just as ancient and is pursued across the centuries by a man who wants to reclaim the soul she stole from him long ago. The opera dwells on such issues as the impact of celebrity, commercialism and multi-culturalism on art and life, focusing upon a popular, but mysterious, singer.
The opera was given a concert staging at Cooper Union this past October.
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 directed by Maner at HERE in fall 1998. Other works include The Elektra Fugues and Locket Arias. 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.
Tickets are $15. HERE is located at 145 Sixth Avenue, at Spring Street, in Manhattan. For more information, call (212) 647-0202, or consult HERE's website at www. Here. Org.
-- By Robert Simonson