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State of Wonder

Opera Exploring Veterans' Journey To Premiere

A new opera premiering in Portland September 5th and 6th places audiences inside the world of an Afghanistan War veteran, drifting farther and farther away from those he loves.

Baritone Michael Mayes as Adam.

Baritone Michael Mayes as Adam.

Courtesy of Anima Mundi Productions

The Canticle of the Black Madonna is a collaboration by composer Ethan Gans Morse, a University of Oregon graduate, and librettist Tiziana Della Rovere. She told us when she started in 2010, she wanted to write an opera that addressed the two major things going on in the world at the time. The first was environmental devastation, as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill fanned out across the Gulf of Mexico. The second was the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The idea grew for a story about a soldier named Adam who comes home from a deployment in Afghanistan to Louisiana and his wife, Mara.  

Listen to the piece above for more on how Gans-Morse and DellaRovere brought the work to life.