Sheila is embarking on her most ambitious opera to date: A Thousand Splendid Suns, based on the internationally best selling novel by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner. Silver and her librettist, Stephen Kitsakos, have recently completed the first draft of the adaptation. She plans to go to India to study Hindustani music (which is at the heart of Afghan music) as part of her preparation for composing this work, so that a strand of this sound will infiltrate her compositional voice. Silver and Hosseini have discussed the project at length and he is excited about having his novel turned into an opera.
Sheila is working on a Songbook based on the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay developed with the support of American Opera Projects and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society. She recently completed her first set, Three Songs for Elaine, which were premiered at a concert at Stony Brook’s Staller Center in May 2012 honoring legendary mezzo-soprano, Elaine Bonazzi. Sheila is now composing a set of songs for soprano, and a set for mezzo-soprano, Deanne Meek. The entire Songbook will contain around 15 songs and will be premiered at Symphony Space in New York on June 13, 2013 and at Hudson’s historic First Presbyterian Church presented by ClaverackLanding on June 8, 2013.
The Stony Brook Opera presents the New York premiere of The Wooden Sword, winner of the 2007 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Music Composition for Opera.
Friday, March 25, 2011 8pm (pre-concert talk 7 pm) Sunday, March 27, 2011 2pm (pre-concert talk 1 pm)
Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University
Thursday, March 31 at Symphony Space in New York City 7:30 pm, pre-concert conversation at 6:30 pm.
This will be a wonderful production conducted by David Lawton and directed by Joachim Schaumberger. Baritone Carlos Conde is cast as King Zamani, tenor Alex Guerrero as Hazim, soprano Risa Harmon as Benefsha, and mezzo soprano Ryu Kyung Kim as Anya. The program also includes Peter Winkler’s Fox Fables directed by Rhoda Levine and conducted by Timothy Long.
For more information about The Wooden Sword, go to: http://www.sheilasilver.com/the-wooden-sword/
On November 5, 7, and 13, 2010, The University of Connecticut gave a stunning premiere performance of The Wooden Sword, a chamber opera in one act and winner of the 2007 Sackler Prize in Composition. Gary English’s superb directing and Jeffrey Renshaw’s lively conducting delighted the audiences. A new production will be mounted by the Stony Brook OPera with performances at the Staller Center for the Arts on March 25 and 27, and one at Symphony Space in New York City on March 31, 2011. With roots in Jewish and Afghani cultures, the folk tale of Hazim the simple cobbler and how his humility and cleverness provide insight for the mighty King Zamani is one of the world’s archetypical stories. See more on The Wooden Sword page.
With a preview performance in Ottawa followed by three performances at the Smithsonian’s Freer Sackler Gallery in Washington DC in July 2010, TAPESTRY launched The White Rooster. Based on an original concept and libretto by Stephen Kitsakos, it is about a group of Tibetan nuns who are escaping Tibet when one has been shot by a border guard. It was written specifically for TAPESTRY, whose specialty, medieval singing, is used strategically by Silver who combines them with 6 Tibetan singing bowls and percussion. The piece uses several Tibetan mantras, some based on traditional Tibetan melodies. Tapestry will continue to tour with the piece. In December 2010 they presented it to packed houses in Memphis, Portland, and Los Angeles and performances in New York and South America are planned for the next few months.
We haven’t updated the website in some time but Sheila has composed a lot of music — mostly opera– in the past three years. We’re in the process also of adding a listening room to the website, so stay tuned.
The most recent news is the premiere of THE WHITE ROOSTER, A Tale of Compassion, Cantata for women’s voices, 6 Tibetan singing bowls, and hand percussion. Commissioned by the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian for the exhibit, In the Realm of the Buddha,the 35 minute work is designed to be performed in any “found” space. It was given three performances over the weekend of July 10 and 11, 2011 in the Exhibition Space of the Sackler Gallery in Washington DC. In addition, a preview performance took place at the Music and Beyond festival on July 7 in Ottawa, Canada. Performances are scheduled for Memphis, Portland (Dec. 2, 2011), and Los Angeles (Dec. 4) for later this year. Read More
Having just been awarded the 2007 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Composition in the field of chamber opera, Sheila has begun work on THE WOODEN SWORD, the story of a poor man whose joyful approach to living is put to the test by his powerful king. The man triumphs through wit, resourcefulness, and faith. It is based on a 14th century tale from Afghanistan. It will be scored for 4 soloists, a small chamber choir,and an instrumental ensemble o f nine. Premiere at University of Connecticut with subsequent performances in Moscow, are planned for early 2009.
Sheila has just completed TWILIGHT’S LAST G LEAMING two pianos and percussion for Gilbert Kalish, Christina Dahl, and Eduardo Leandro, to be premiered in New York at the Morgon Pierpont Library in New York and at Stony Brook In November, 2007. Read More