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Octavia Butler's Parable Of The Sower opera hits the stage in New York

Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon's production runs until 15 January

A new opera based on Octavia Butler’s 1993 novel Parable Of The Sower has opened in New York. Composed by Toshi Reagon and her mother, the vocalist and activist Bernice Johnson Reagon, the opera makes use of 15 singers plus a five-piece orchestra. Toshi describes the work as an “unprecedented intersection of science fiction, opera, African-American art and spirituality, feminism, and climate activism”. The opera has been supported by a Kickstarter campaign that raised its $30,000 goal in November, financing rehearsal fees, PR and a touring fund.

Parable Of The Sower was the first book in a two part series. Set in 2024 it follows the story of a woman named Lauren Oya Olamina and the development of a belief system she calls Earthseed. Discussing Parable with io9, Reagan says that although the work is best thought of as an opera, “the show’s music includes elements of multiple genres including blues, EDM and gospel”.

Parable Of The Sower runs until 15 January at New York Newman theater.