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Director Robert Wilson and composer-librettist Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of the a capella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, have joined forces to create a music-theater piece based on Gustave Flaubert’s 1874 novel "The Temptation of St. Anthony," which will be presented at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House Oct 19-24.

Reagon’s daughter, R&B singer Toshi Reagon, is musical director for the show’s tour. She told GO Brooklyn, "My mother was intrigued by the idea of collaborating with Robert Wilson."

Wilson has a long relationship with BAM; he directed "POEtry" in 2001 and "Woyzeck" in 2002. His distinctive staging for "The Temptation of St. Anthony" uses dramatic lighting and bamboo birds held aloft by the performers.

"’The Temptation of St. Anthony’ is a story about St. Anthony, whose faith is tested, and his journey to find out where he belongs," said Toshi Reagon. "He goes on an exploration through many different faiths to find himself and his relationship to God. We tell the story through music and Robert Wilson’s staging."

The all black cast features several Brooklyn-based artists. Performer-author Carl Hancock Rux (pictured), who lives in Fort Greene, plays St. Anthony. Singer Christalyn Wright also lives in Fort Greene. And Toshi Reagon, who says, "I just love Brooklyn," makes her home in Crown Heights.

The music will be played by her six-piece band, Big Lovely, and will be sung by a 14-member choir.

"This is a universal story," said Toshi Reagon. "It’s especially significant these days when we see faith and humanity being eliminated all around us."

"The Temptation of St. Anthony" runs Oct. 19-23 at 7:30 pm, and Oct. 24 at 3 pm. Tickets are $25, $50 and $75. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House is located at 30 Lafayette Ave. between St. Felix Street and Ashland Place. For more information, call (718) 636-4100 or visit the Web site at

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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