Singapore International Festival of Arts

Opera based on sci-fi novel features African-American music

A new opera, based on African-American writer Octavia E. Butler's Parable Of The Sower, makes its Asia-Pacific debut in Singapore.
A new opera, based on African-American writer Octavia E. Butler's Parable Of The Sower, makes its Asia-Pacific debut in Singapore.PHOTO: PAUL MAROTTA

People had trouble fitting the work of the late African-American writer Octavia E. Butler into a box. Was it science fiction if it was set in a slave plantation in Maryland? Was it social realism if it took place in a dystopian future?

Twelve years after the death of Butler, the first black female writer to rise to prominence in both the science-fiction and literary worlds, a new opera based on her seminal novel Parable Of The Sower defies genre strictures in the same way.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2018, with the headline 'Parable Of The Sower opera draws on wide range of black music'. Print Edition | Subscribe