A Songbook based on the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay

A new CD release of vocal music from composer Sheila Silver (A Thousand Splendid Suns) that will include Beauty Intolerable, A Songbook based on the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, and On Loving, Three Songs for Diane Kalish, in memorium.

About 60 minutes of music, the fourteen solo songs which make up Beauty Intolerable, will be performed by 5 unique singers. The first three are legendary and have performed in major opera houses throughout the world: Dawn Upshaw, soprano, Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano, and Deanne Meek, mezzo-soprano. Two young and upcoming stars will join them: soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, who tours with Music at Marlboro and sings the role of Laila in Sheila’s new opera, A Thousand Splendid Suns; and Risa Renae Harmann, who has performed much of Sheila’s music including the lead role in her opera, The Wooden Sword.

In addition to Beauty Intolerable, Dawn Upshaw and renown pianist, Gilbert Kalish, will record On Loving, three songs with texts by Shakespeare, Millay, and Khalil Gibran. On Loving is dedicated to the memory of Diane Kalish, Gilbert Kalish’s wife and the cycle was written for Gil and Dawn who are long time collaborators. We will also record a piano solo, Nocturne, that Sheila composed for Gilbert Kalish’s 2015 Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center Recital.

American Opera Projects helped Sheila develop and produce the premiere performance of Beauty Intolerable in 2013 and we are thrilled to produce this “definitive” composer supervised recording. These songs, plus On Loving, are fast becoming some of Sheila’s most performed music.

Sheila’s latest opera, A Thousand Splendid Suns, which is based on the novel by international best-selling author Khaled Hosseini, will be premiered with full orchestra by the Seattle Opera in February 2021, with several other major opera companies joining in the consortium commission. American Opera Projects is proud to have worked with Sheila throughout the entire development of A Thousand Splendid Suns, including garnering several Opera America development awards and an NEA development award. The three workshops and Opera America orchestral reading that we helped sponsor have spiked the interest of the entire opera world. Once the opera is premiered, we anticipate that there will be an even greater interest in Sheila’s music internationally – especially her vocal music. With the proposed CD coming out in the Fall of 2020, it will be timed to coincide with the premiere season of A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Additional website:



If you intend to donate over $2,500 to Beauty Intolerable, please contact AOP General Director Matt Gray at


This Project has been made possible in part through AOP, a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization, and its Helping Hands fiscal sponsorship program. All donations are tax-deductible.