Culturally (and otherwise), communist Cuba has not been exactly forthcoming in its dealings with its big democratic neighbor to the north. That poverty of cultural exchange makes "1900s Art From Cuba: An Exhibition of New Work by Cuban Artists" a rare treat. The traveling exhibition includes the work of Tania Bruguera, Abel Barroso, Sandra Cebalos, Manual Pina and Lazaro Saavedra, with participation by Leandro Soto, who is living in Buffalo and currently has a major work installed at Big Orbit Gallery. All five artists took part in two-month residences at various arts organizations across the country, and it is the work done during the residencies that will be on view. The exhibition begins Saturday with a reception from 9 to 11 p.m. at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 2495 Main St. It will be on view through Nov. 15.
-- Richard Huntington
A VISIT FROM TALLEYRAND
An unusual French musical matinee on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Canisius College's Christ the King Chapel will be the premiere of a new opera by Buffalo composer Persis Parshall Vehar titled "French Friends." It is described by the composer as "a family-oriented musical theater piece," taking its point of departure from the historical fact that the famous French diplomat Talleyrand actually visited the exiled Madame LaTour du Pin in her upstate New York home somewhere near Troy during the French Revolution. The libretto is derived from Madame LaTour's memoirs. Accompanied by the composer at the piano, the soloists will be soprano AdrienneTworek-Gryta and baritone Michael Harris, assisted by children from the 1997 French Immersion Summer Camp. Cosponsored by the Canisius College French Club and the Alliance Francaise, the program will also include vocal works from the same period by French composers, performed by Tworek-Gryta and Vehar.
-- Herman Trotter
OUT FOR A BITE
For three years Buffalo composer Paul Ziemba has labored at creating the songs and lyrics to a musical theater piece that would be ready in time for the 100th anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula." Rightly or wrongly, since 1897 Count Dracula has become the most popular and imitated figure in horror fiction. Ziemba met his deadline. He has written 30 songs, a large number for a musical show, that he says reflect the Gothic and romantic nature of the original. He has titled it "Dracula, the Prince of Night" and it makes its debut next Friday at 8 p.m. in Desiderio's Dinner Theatre, 652 S. Ogden St. To play Dracula he has Vinzent Massi and to play the imperiled young woman, Mina, he has Tamara Malek. Ziemba directs the show. The musical director is Ivan Docenko; the choreographer is Kristine Meyer. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. Oct. 10, 18 and 25 and at 4 p.m. Oct. 12 and 19.
-- Terry Doran