The Canticle of the Black Madonna

A new opera in two acts

By Ethan Gans-Morse &
Tiziana DellaRovere

About the Opera

How can an opera help veterans with combat PTSD?
Watch this video to learn more

The Canticle of the Black Madonna: A Soldier’s Journey is an original opera by librettist Tiziana DellaRovere and composer Ethan Gans-Morse featuring six principal characters, chorus, large chamber orchestra, and elaborate masks and costumes. Set in Louisiana in 2010, this potent story chronicles the journey of an American soldier returning from Afghanistan with PTSD as he struggles with his shattered soul, his strained marriage, and the crumbling economy in the wake of the Gulf Oil Spill, while his wife faces courageous sacrifices to stand by the man she loves amidst an ecological disaster which radically changes their lives.

Through a rich combination of modern opera and ancient oratorio, The Canticle of the Black Madonna reveals the healing power of their encounter with an ancient, primal force of divine love, represented by the Black Madonna, which transforms them both forever and touches all who witness it.

A new work is created

The Canticle of the Black Madonna is the product of a four-year collaboration between composer Ethan Gans-Morse and librettist, poet, author, and artist, Tiziana DellaRovere. In February, 2013 it was performed as a semi-professional workshop at the University of Oregon and garnered significant endorsements and rave reviews.

A world premiere

The Canticle of the Black Madonna received its professional world premiere at the Newmark Theatre in the Portland Center for the Performing Arts on September 5, 2014. It was produced by Anima Mundi Productions with substantial support from our donors & sponsors, the veteran community, and a successful $75,000 crowdfunding campaign.

The world premiere was hailed by Oregon ArtsWatch as “One of the most exciting developments of the arts season.” In his review, James McQuillen of The Oregonian wrote:

‘Canticle’ represents a huge achievement… Contemporary opera is alive in Oregon, and not just that, it’s vital, addressing contemporary issues with determination and compassion.”

The Community

The world premiere of The Canticle of the Black Madonna provided a rare opportunity to bring together civilians and veterans, policy makers and service providers, community members and professional musicians, artists, and actors, all for a common cause: to provide a safe and welcoming environment for our veterans returning home. Read more about some of the many direct services that Anima Mundi Productions provided in the words of Iraq War veteran Sean Davis here.