Created by Oregon composer Ethan Gans-Morse and librettist Tiziana DellaRovere, “The Canticle of the Black Madonna” is a moving new opera that tells the story of a soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) returning from Afghanistan to his wife during the devastating 2010 Gulf Oil Spill in coastal Louisiana.
This opera explores the healing power of transformation through divine love, embodied by the Black Madonna. “The Canticle of the Black Madonna” premiered in September 2014 at Portland’s Newmark Theatre, with an all-professional cast under nationally renowned director Kristine McIntyre, formerly of the Metropolitan Opera.
Coastal audiences will get another chance to see “Canticle” on April 13 and 14 at the Lincoln City Cultural Center. The LCCC will host two community screenings of “The Canticle of the Black Madonna,” filmed during the 2014 premiere.
On Saturday, April 13, there will be a special preview talk with Gans-Morse and DellaRovere at 6 p.m., followed by the screening at 7 p.m. On Sunday, April 14, the screening will begin at 2 p.m. and will be followed by an open discussion moderated by Sean Davis, veterans service specialist. Admission is free.
“In my career as a professional opera singer, I have premiered countless new works, but none has moved me so deeply as “The Canticle of the Black Madonna,” said Pamela South, Grammy Award-winning soprano.
In its development, the opera raised $75,000 through crowd funding, making it one of the most successful productions of its kind.
“The Canticle of the Black Madonna opened my heart and brought new healing to me, 44 years after I returned from Vietnam,” said Bill Ritch, Silver Star recipient and former West Point instructor. “This is a gift that should be shared with the world,” he said.
Retired Oregon Army National Guardsman and Purple Heart recipient Sean Davis serves as veteran service coordinator for the production. “The Canticle of the Black Madonna doesn't only inspire the community with a beautiful story of survival and love, but Ethan Gans-Morse and Tiziana DellaRovere have gone out of their way to help veterans, sometimes behind the scenes” said Davis. “Much of the good they've done for veterans and their family members will never be seen by the public, but it has shown me that they not only talk the talk, they are actively taking action to help veterans and this inspires me to work even harder to do my part,” he said.
This is not the first collaboration between Gans-Morse and the Lincoln City Cultural Center. In September of 2018, the LCCC was the venue of the world premiere of “Tango of the White Gardenia,” also created by the team of Gans-Morse and DellaRovere, For more information, call the LCCC at 541-994-9994 or head to canticleoftheblackmadonna.com.
To learn more or join the LCCC, go online at lincolncityculturalcenter.org or drop by the LCCC Information Center, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesday).