The New York Times
7 January 1893



   An opera, the music composed and written by a colored man, and the cast to include only colored people, will be one of the original and unique attractions of the World's Fair at Chicago.

   The opera will be a new version of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Its composer is Will M. Cook, who has made the most of advantageous studies in Berlin and has won high honors there for remarkable exhibitions of musical talent.

   The colored people have been very much dissatisfied at the manner in which they have been treated by the World's Fair Directors. Although a component and most picturesque part of the American population, they seemed to have been denied representation. It was suggested that, at least, their remarkable talent for music should not go unrecognized.

   The veteran Frederick Douglass presented Mr. Cook to President Harrison and told him that he wished to have represented at the fair some exhibition of the progress made by his race in music. President Harrison wrote to the Directors of the World's Fair, who at once gave permission to Mr. Cook to present his opera within the grounds of the fair.

   Mr. Cook has secured a great deal of talent to help him in his enterprise. The tenor will be Mr. Harry Williams of the London Conservatory, and the soprano Mme. Sisieretta Jones, who was hear here last Summer and who has proved a drawing-room attraction this Winter at various musicales. She sang at Mrs. Whitney's last week and will sing for Mrs. Cleveland shortly.

   Mme. Waring, a beautiful octoroon, who is at present singing at La Scala, Milan, will be the contralto. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Miss Jennie Jackson, Miss Lella Hamar of Washington, and Mr. Harry Burleigh of the National Conservatory of Music, who has a splendid baritone voice, will also assist. All are colored, and it is said by Mr. Cook that there is much talent in his race represented abroad in the various conservatories.

   A concert will be given on Feb. 13 under the patronage of many society women in this city, to enable Mr. Cook to raise a fund sufficient to secure a large chorus. Mme. Jones will sing at this concert, and great interest is being is being manifested by the colored churches in this city in the enterprise. A number of well-known merchants have presented articles as prizes to be given to the minister or congregation selling the largest number of tickets.

   One firm has given a piano and another a suit of clothes. The tickets are selling very rapidly. The names of the lady patronesses will be given next week. Mr. Cook is supported by the colored newspapers and the best element of colored people in the city.