The Canticle of the Black Madonna

A new opera in two acts

By Ethan Gans-Morse &
Tiziana DellaRovere

A Soldier’s Journey from the Desolation of War
to the Healing Embrace of Love

Called “One of the most exciting developments of the arts season” by Oregon ArtsWatch, The Canticle of the Black Madonna is a new opera by librettist Tiziana DellaRovere and composer Ethan Gans-Morse which premiered in Portland, Oregon on September 5, 2014. Set in coastal Louisiana amidst the devastation of the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill, it tells the story of a fictional soldier returning from Afghanistan to his wife. Together, they face the challenges of his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and her struggles to maintain the family business. Through a rich combination of modern and ancient music, The Canticle ultimately reveals the healing power of love, represented by the Black Madonna, which transforms them both forever and touches all who witness it.


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Explore the social mission of the opera:

“The generous, carefully crafted and supremely compassionate ‘Canticle’ relates the couple’s passage through ecological catastrophe and the dark night of Adam’s post-traumatic stress disorder under her loving protection.”

James McQuillen, The Oregonian

Read More Critical Acclaim

β€œIn 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. This important story of profound love is both timely and timeless. I applaud every note of this opera.”

Pamela South, Grammy award-winning soprano

“You honor me, and my brothers and sisters in arms, with this opera. Please know that as a combat veteran I am truly and deeply touched that you have undertaken such an elusive and misunderstood issue as combat-related PTSD in America today. I am thankful to you all for what you do, and I know my fallen friends would be as well.”

Miah Washburn 1SG

U.S. Army Infantry

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The Canticle of the Black Madonna has been featured on…

The Oregonian

OPB State of Wonder


Willamette Week



Films for Action

Portland Monthly

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Explore the opera

Browse the printed program

Read the libretto (script) of the opera

Audio Clips from 2013 Workshop

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