Oregon Coast audiences will have two chances to see a modern-day addition to the opera world this weekend, as the Lincoln City Cultural Center presents screenings of “The Canticle of the Black Madonna” on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14.
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 returning from Afghanistan to his wife during the devastating 2010 Gulf Oil Spill in coastal Louisiana. It explores the healing power of transformation through divine love, embodied by the Black Madonna.
In its development, “The Canticle of the Black Madonna”raised $75,000 through crowd funding, making it one of the most successful productions of its kind.
The opera 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.
“In my career as a professional opera singer, I have premiered countless new works,” said Pamela South, Grammy-winning soprano, “but none has moved me so deeply as ‘The Canticle of the Black Madonna.’”
Retired Oregon Army National Guardsman and Purple Heart recipient Sean Davis, serves as veteran service coordinator for the production. He said Gans-Morse and DellaRovere have gone out of their way to help veterans, sometimes behind the scenes.
“Much of the good they’ve done for veterans and their family members will never be seen by the public,” he said, “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.”
“‘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.”
The Saturday, April 13, screening will start at 7 pm, preceded by a special preview talk with Gans-Morse and DellaRovere at 6 pm. The Sunday, April 14, screening will start at 2 pm, followed by an open discussion moderated by Sean Davis, veterans service specialist. Admission to both screenings is free.
For more information, call 541-994-9994 or go to canticleoftheblackmadonna.com.