Beauty Intolerable



Beauty Intolerable (WORLD PREMIERE)
A Songbook of 15 Songs
based on the poetry of
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Music by Sheila Silver

Saturday, June 8 at 6 pm
First Presbyterian Church
4th & Warren Streets, Hudson, NY

$30 General Admission
$50 Reserved Seating & Artists Reception
$150 Reserved Seating, Artists Reception & Private Tour of Millay’s Steepletop
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More information about Sheila Silver & Beauty Intolerable

Developed with the support of
American Opera Projects,
The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society,
ClaverickLanding, and Symphony Space

Performed by
Lauren Flanigan, soprano
Deanne Meek, mezzo-soprano
Risa Renae Harman, lyric soprano
Kelly Horsted and Christopher Cooley, piano

with special guest, actress Tyne Daly reciting the poetry
Preview below:

The program is envisioned as a celebration of Millay’s poetry through music.  Composed for the vocal personalities of each of the three singers, the songs reflect Millay’s passion and playfulness.  Infused with a hint of jazz, the songs are accessible and engaging to general audiences.  The performance of the complete Songbook will include a celebrity actor reading the poetry prior to the performance of the songs.


sheila silver Sheila Silver, composer

2013 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship as she begins work on her new opera-in-progress “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” and winner of the 2007 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Music for her opera, The Wooden Sword, composer Sheila Silver has devoted herself in the last several years to composing for the voice and opera.  Her music “bespeaks a maturity of mind and culture found in few composers.”  (Classical Net)  She became fascinated with the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay in 2011 and composed her first set, Three Songs for Elaine, which were premiered at a concert honoring legendary mezzo-soprano, Elaine Bonazzi.

The music of Sheila Silver, a resident of Columbia County and a Professor of Music at Stony Brook University, is performed by numerous orchestras, chamber ensembles, and soloists throughout the world including the American Composers Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tanglewood, The RAI Orchestra of Rome, the Seattle Symphony, and the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra.  Her honors include: a Bunting Institute Fellowship; the Rome Prize; the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Composer Award; twice winner of the ISCM National Composers Competition; and awards and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Camargo Foundation, Bellagio, the MacDowell Colony, New York State Council of the Arts, the Barlow Foundation, the Paul Fromm Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Cary Trust.

Her recent chamber opera, The White Rooster, A Tale of Compassion, for the women’s vocal ensemble, Tapestry, was commissioned by the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Gallery and was premiered by them in 2010 and performed by Tapestry on ClaverackLanding’s 2011 series at Club Helsinki.  In July of 2013 she will go to India for 6 months to study Hindustani music in preparation for composing an opera based on Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Recent recordings include the DVD film of Silver’s opera, The Thief of Love, released by Hummingbird Films; Twilight’s Last Gleaming, for two pianos and percussion on Bridge Records; Piano Concerto and Six Preludes for Piano on Poems of Baudelaire on Naxos; Shirat Sara (Song of Sarah) on Naxos; and Six Preludes for Piano on Poems of Baudelaire on Albany Records.


Special guest, actress Tyne Daly

The poetry selected for this songbook will be recited by Ellen Tyne Daly (born February 21, 1946), an American stage and screen actress, widely known for her work as Detective Mary Beth Lacey in the television series Cagney & Lacey and as Maxine Gray in the television series Judging Amy. She is also known for her role as Alice Henderson in the television series Christy. She has won six Emmy Awards for her television work,  and the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical in Gypsy: A Musical Fable in 1989.

Lauren Flannigan Lauren Flanigan, soprano

Named by TIME Magazine as “the thinking man’s diva” and awarded by ACSAP and the Center for Contemporary Opera for her commitment to performing the works of living composers, soprano Lauren Flanigan has firmly established herself as a unique musical presence in the world today. She has performed leading roles at La Scala, Teatro San Carlo, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, The Philadelphia Opera Company, ENO and the New York City Opera to name a few. She is considered one of the leading interpreters of the early operas of Verdi including Attilla, Giovanna D’Arco, Nabucco, Macbeth, I Lombardi and La Traviata and has been featured on the telecast “Live from Lincoln Center” in performances of I Lombardi (opposite Luciano Pavarotti), The Richard Tucker Gala, Lizzie Borden and Central Park which was written for her. She is best known in the US as a leading interpreter of American operatic music and has sung leading roles in the world premieres of Weisgall’s Esther, Pasatieri’s Frau Margot, Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, William Bolcom and Robert Altman’s A Wedding, Deboarh Drattell’s Lillith, Central Park, Marina, and Séance on A Wet Afternoon written for her by Broadway veteran Stephen Schwartz. The operas Morning Becomes Electra, Peter Ibbetson, Merry Mount, Lizzie Borden, The Mother of Us All, Antony and Cleopatra and Vanessa were revived for Lauren to perform. Her diverse concert repertoire has included Chants D’Auvergne and Il Signor Bruschino with Orpheus, Epiphanies, Mahler’s 8th Symphony, Philomel, Cantata para America Magica, and Salome (final scene) with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, The Heavenly Feast, and the world premiere of Symphony No. 6 Plutonian Ode, written for her by Phillip Glass and premiered with Dennis Russell Davies and the Brucknerhaus and American Symphony Orchestras. She is the founder and director of Music and Mentoring House Inc. a New York not-for-profit that provides upscale housing and hands-on mentoring for students coming to New York to study in the arts. This year she was named a creative resident of New York’s Park Avenue Armory and later this year her cd of Unsung Kurt Weill songs will be released as part of that residency. Cd’s: The Cabildo, The Sun Cantata, Frau Margot, Merry Mount, Peter Ibbetson, Monologues, Die Liebe der Danae, Appendage, Mahler’s 8th Symphony, Good Night Moon, and Symphony #6 Plutonian Ode. Dvd’s: Nabucco from Teatro San Carlo and the motion picture Death to Smoochy.

Deanne Meek Deanne Meek, mezzo-soprano

Deanne Meek, mezzo-soprano, has been lauded by Opera magazine for a mezzo that “is smooth and velvety with a touch of resin in the tone.” She has sung in many of the world’s leading opera houses including: Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, Brussels’ Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet, Opera Ireland, Opera Vancouver, Minnesota Opera, Chicago Lyric, and the Metropolitan Opera.  Her repertoire has a wide range – with New York City Opera she has sung Diana in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, and Harriet Mosher in the acclaimed New York premiere of Tobias Picker’s Emmeline.  With Boston Baroque she has sung Sesto in Giulio Cesare, Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and she created the role of Ma Joad in Minnesota Opera’s world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath.  For the Utah Opera she sang the title role in Blitzstein’s Regina and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. With Opera Theatre of Saint Louis she sang Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and at the Spoleta Festival, she sang Karolka in Jenufa and Dido in Dido and Aeneas. She recently appeared with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and with the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall singing Guilhen in d’Indy’s Fervaal An active recitalist, Ms. Meek has been a fellow at both the Tanglewood and Ravinia Music Festivals in the United States, and has sung solo recitals in the United Kingdom, Paris, New York, Baltimore, Washington D.C., St. Louis and the Pacific Northwest.

Risa Renae Harman Risa Renae Harman, lyric soprano

American soprano Risa Renae Harman has been widely acclaimed for her technical virtuosity and communication skills as an artist.  As noted by The New York Times, “But she is that rare creature among singers, a really good recitalist.”  Favorite operatic performances include The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Violetta in La Traviata, the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, as well as creating the role of Louise in the world premiere of William Schuman’s A Question of Taste for Glimmerglass Opera.

She has appeared with New York City Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Lake George Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and Glimmerglass Opera and as soloist at the National Cathedral, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Weill Hall and the Kennedy Center.  Miss Harman’s international credits include recitals in Sweden as the winner of the American Jenny Lind Competition and the Italian Festivals Da Bach a Bartok and Musica nei Chiostri.  Miss Harman is the recipient of numerous awards and grants.  She received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University as a student of Ms. Elaine Bonazzi and was awarded the Ackerman prize for outstanding performance graduate.  She currently is Artist-in-Residence with the Bay View Music Festival, Michigan.