Night Vision: A First to Third World Vampyre Opera

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    Fred Ho, Fred Ho and Ruth Margraff, Ruth Margraff

    Publisher: Autonomedia

    Year:

    Format:

    Size: 90 pages + 2 CDs

    ISBN: 9781570271038

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Inspired by Hong Kong action cinema, Iraqi Bedouin desert songs, Crusader art, and Times Square erotica, Night Vision is a bloodcurdling transfusion of composer Fred Ho's innovative Afro/Asian New American multicultural operatic music and playwright Ruth Margraff's neo-Biblical libretti. Night Vision tracks a 2000-year old female vampyre who rises to pop music superstardom, hyped by a Renfield-like diabolical techno-genius, The Spin Doctor.

THE NIGHT VISION STORY

Back in Zero A.D. of the First World…there lived a Centurion who was paid a fortune by the Roman Empire to slaughter the Moors who shepherded their flocks along the Euphrates River. This Centurion grew bored of using crucifixion to arouse himself, and became addicted, instead, to swallowing the hearts of Moorish infants whole: lusting to become immortal. A rebellion occurs, led by a merciful Thrall who rips out the Centurion's own heart from his throat with an infant's heart still beating in it. The Thrall places both hearts and the tiny female corpse into a bulrush basket—causing her to resurrect as a VAMPYRE! But this Vampyre has a most uncanny way of singing when she comes of age… She sings with two hearts (3rd and 1st world) in her throat. Her songs are so compelling that she rises to fame in every century, only to disappear suddenly in a black chariot when her killings are discovered. And since the Vampyre can never remember killing, she does not know the secret of her immortality. Meanwhile, the Centurion has become a heartless ghoul, decayed and bloodless, who stalks the Vampyre to get back his heart. Throughout the ages, the Thrall's family passes on the guardianship of the Vampyre, reaping the considerable profits of her talent.

In the year 2000 A.D., the latest Renfield Thrall seems to have masterminded his ambition to makeover the Vampyre into the hottest American pop sensation ever. This Thrall, (the SPIN DOCTOR), has trumped the music industry and his own legacy with his scheme to leak and hype up the unbelievable truth about his protégé AJLINNA ID-DIBAYIH, THE VAMPYRE, once and for all. He will thereby cash in on her value and leave her to destroy herself.

However, unbeknownst to the Spin Doctor, a descendent of the Centurion still lives on, as well! Disguised as one Ajlinna's paparazzi boys (a.k.a. SUNKIST DYSNEY DAVID), he hears about this new Vampyre and suspects that she was once the Moorish infant whose breast still contains his missing heart. Dysney David watches from the shadows of Ajlinna's high fashion "Limousine" night club as she devours three new victims, who vaguely resemble shepherd boys from the Roman Empire, the Crusades and the Renaissance (ROMAN BOY I, CRUSADER MOORISH BOY, and TROUBADOUR RORY BOY). Dysney David seizes and re-animates their heartless corpses, one by one, into ghoulish versions of himself.

Finally, Dysney David and his new Davids try to attack Ajlinna in the midst of a live telecast eulogy she is forced by the Spin Doctor to sing. But again, the Vampyre instinctively disappears: this time in her black stealth-fighter limousine, into the Euphrates region that was once her home. This time she abandons the Spin Doctor/Thrall as her chauffeur altogether! The Davids try to trace Ajlinna's scattered limelight, chasing her deep into the Third World with their imitations of her music and her stealth maneuvers. The boys set loose a joystick joyride of cyber-televised destruction with their pseudo-slingshots. The Euphrates River burns grotesquely neon, and then overflows with blood. In the horror of the slaughterhouse that ensues, Ajlinna manages to pull the plug on the entire Times Square franchise…of First World evangelical capitalism. Leaving only her original bulrush basket in the hands of a true-hearted shepherd boy…

Night Vision credits

The music and score was initially composed in June, 1998 while Fred was at Villa Serbelloni, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy, and finished July, 1999 at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Woodside, CA, USA. NIGHT VISION was originally commissioned by Salvage Vanguard Theater (Austin) and the 1999 Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Projects and has been developed with support from the Joseph Papp Public Theater's 1998 "New Work Now" Festival, New Dramatists/Cameron MacIntosh fund, New York Theater Workshop's Mondays @ 3; HERE Performance Center's "Opera Project," Helen Merrill, Ltd. and Big Red Media Inc. (New York); Audrey Skirball-Kenis' 1998 Spring Retreat (Los Angeles); and McKnight development funds through the Playwright's Center (Minneapolis). A second Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Project production grant was awarded in 2000 for the stage premiere by the HERE Arts Center, NYC January 26 to February 19, 2000.

Book Details

Author: Fred Ho
Author: Ruth Margraff
Artist: Fred Ho and Ruth Margraff
Format: Paperback + 2 CDs
ISBN: 1570271038
Size: 90 pages + 2 CDs
Publisher: Autonomedia
Year: 2000

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