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2 - Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower_Photo by Erin Patrice O’Brien

Source: Lincoln Center / Erin Patrice O’Brien


In the near two decades since we lost beloved Black science fiction author Octavia E. Butler on February 24, 2006, her work has only grown in prominence and fandom alike. For the 30th anniversary of 1993’s Parable of the Sower, a work that took speculative fiction by storm, NYC’s renowned Lincoln Center put on a three-night premiere event that saw the novel transformed into an astounding Black opera experience.



 

RELATED: 10 Black Fiction Writers To Know And Read

With a colorful cast that boasted a masterful control of both vocals and acting chops, the intersections of Afrofuturism and music came together tenfold for a nonstop visual journey that lasted two-and-a-half hours long. Thankfully it was just enough time for the talented ensemble to touch on the novel’s many staple themes, including race, gender and climate change. Given the state of the world today IRL, let’s just say this was a very timely performance.

Read below for key info on the stageplay’s official description, via Lincoln Center:

“This fully staged ‘congregational’ opera brings together over 30 original anthems drawn from 200 years of Black music to recreate Butler’s sci-fi, Afrofuturist masterpiece live on stage. With music and lyrics composed by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon, this compelling work chronicles the spiritual awakening of Lauren Olamina amidst an America plagued by the products of unrelenting greed, systemic injustice and climate change denial, giving life to Butler’s acclaimed science fiction novel, now celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, 2023!”

The emphasis on “congregational” is quite the understatement, as many numbers pleasantly were reminiscent of a Sunday church sermon. Spirituality filled the Wu Tsai Theater at David Geffen Hall with such conviction and raw talent from the ensemble cast that it proved to be no problem staying up to enjoy it all in its entirety with no intermission.

At some points, the show spilled out into the aisle and created an interactive aspect between the audience, which came to a head with a finale sing-a-long that closed out a trifecta of unforgettable nights at the opera. While it was far from what you’d expect from classical coloratura — legato and staccato techniques are substituted here for modern Broadway-inspired tunes — the fresh take on dramma giocoso was culturally relevant and very eye-opening to issues plaguing us right now in the real world.

Let’s just hope on July 20th and 21st of 2024 that the events of Parable Of The Sower don’t become an actual reality — we’ve still a whole year!

Take a look below at more images from our night on the town in NYC to see Parable Of The Sower, brought to life as a Black opera  for Lincoln Center’s “Summer For The City” programming:

 


The post Review: Octavia E. Butler’s ‘Parable Of The Sower’ Was Brought To Life In NYC As A Black Opera Experience appeared first on Black America Web.

Review: Octavia E. Butler’s ‘Parable Of The Sower’ Was Brought To Life In NYC As A Black Opera Experience  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

1. Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon

Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Source:Lincoln Center / Lawrence Sumulong

Lincoln Center
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
July 15, 2023, NYC

2. Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon

Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Source:Lincoln Center / Erin Patrice O’Brien

Lincoln Center
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
July 15, 2023, NYC

3. Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon

Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Source:Lincoln Center / Erin Patrice O’Brien

Lincoln Center
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
July 15, 2023, NYC

4. Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon

Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Source:Lincoln Center / Lawrence Sumulong

Lincoln Center
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
July 15, 2023, NYC

5. Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon

Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Source:Lincoln Center / Lawrence Sumulong

Lincoln Center
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
July 15, 2023, NYC

6. Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon

Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Source:Lincoln Center / Erin Patrice O’Brien

Lincoln Center
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
July 15, 2023, NYC

7. Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon

Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Source:Lincoln Center / Erin Patrice O’Brien

Lincoln Center
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
July 15, 2023, NYC

8. Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon

Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Source:Lincoln Center / Lawrence Sumulong

Lincoln Center
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
July 15, 2023, NYC

9. Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon

Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Source:Lincoln Center / Erin Patrice O’Brien

Lincoln Center
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
July 15, 2023, NYC