Portland Opera to Go: Beatrice

World Premiere


Composed by Dave Ragland
Libretto by Mary McCallum


The year is 1912, and young Beatrice Morrow is a multi-talented scholar and opera singer, who has always longed to perform. Then she meets and falls in love with Edward Cannady, a community leader and young man who urges Beatrice to take on a new role with The Advocate—the first African American newspaper in Oregon. Beatrice shares her expertise and her voice as a civil rights leader, community organizer, and editor—as she builds bridges and blazes trails in our Portland, Oregon history. 


Commissioned for our Portland Opera to Go Program (POGO), Beatrice is a 50-minute youth opera inspired by the life and story of Beatrice Morrow Cannady, a prominent leader in Oregon’s cultural community and civil rights movement of the early 1900s. The piece has been written for middle school audiences, focused on fourth through ninth grades. This September, POGO will present performances of Beatrice in venues around the region, including two public performances at the Hampton Opera Center. 

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Production Sponsor
50 minutes, no intermission
English with captions

Cast & crew

About Beatrice Morrow Cannady
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About the Composer & Librettist

Composer Dave Ragland teams up with librettist Mary McCallum to create this world premiere. 

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Learn about Portland Opera to Go

For over two decades, Portland Opera to Go has shared inclusive arts experiences with students, educators and community members around the region. 

Explore our Education & Community Engagement Programs

Portland Opera is all about community connections. Celebrate opera and community with us.

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Production Information

Beatrice is sung in English with live English captions and will be presented in full costume, with a portable set designed to tour schools and community venues.

Standard/Adult tickets are $35, and Student/Youth tickets are $10.00. A limited number of Arts for All tickets will be available starting two weeks prior to the performance. 

Beatrice is part of a multi-year commitment and project called ”Our Oregon” to commission original operas highlighting the experiences of unsung heroes and Oregonians, and will be followed by operas about Asian and Pacific Islander and Native American communities. Each opera will be developed with K-12 schools and communities in mind and toured throughout the state and region in subsequent years.

Dates, programming, artists, and details are subject to change.

Language & Historical Context

Beatrice tells the story of real-life Oregonian, Beatrice Morrow Cannady and her tireless fight for racial equality in Oregon. Beatrice Morrow Cannady was an extraordinary figure who, among other things, was the editor in chief and eventual owner of The Advocate, one of the few and largest African American papers of its time in Oregon; a co-founder of the Portland branch of the NAACP; and the first African American woman in Oregon to earn a law degree. Hers is an inspiring story of hard work, grit, and determination to see justice done! 

Portland Opera to Go’s production of Beatrice is set in the years 1912 to approximately 1930. It contains historically accurate language which may be considered, at best, outdated and, at worst, offensive. Specifically, the words “Negro” and “colored” are each used once within the context of the opera. One is spoken in the context of a newspaper headline and one in the context of an editorial which is an actual quote from one of Ms. Cannady’s editorials of the time.

We urge you to discuss this historically accurate language with your children. While this language was commonplace and considered polite in its time, it is no longer acceptable in everyday conversation. It is used in this production because of the time and story being told, and we do not condone this usage today.


Captions: For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, each performance includes live English captions projected above the stage.

Audio Description: For patrons who are blind or have low-vision, the Sunday matinee performance will include a live audio description of the action and dialogue onstage.

Learn more about accessibility at the Hampton Opera Center here. If you require wheelchair accessible and/or companion seating, or have any other hearing or vision needs, please call us to purchase tickets so that we can ensure your visit to the theatre is an excellent one.

Community sponsors


Portland Opera to Go is generously supported by The Standard, Hampton Family Foundation, Marie Lamfrom Charitable Trust, PGE Foundation, John & Carol Steele, and the BNSF Foundation with additional support from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Regional Arts & Culture Council, and the Arts Education & Access Fund. 

Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of our generous donors, The Collins Foundation, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Community Foundation, Regional Arts and Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund, special support from The CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, and The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. 


Learn more about how to support the Portland Opera to Go program here.