Special Event | "The Center Cannot Hold": A Story of Struggle, Hope and Triumph. Addressing Mental Health Stigma through Opera


Thursday, September 12, 2019, 7:00pm to 9:00pm


Hilles P-02 Performance Hall, 59 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA

Please RSVP to this event.

Celebrating the use of opera and art to address mental health stigma, this event will include a talk by opera composer Kenneth Wells, MD, MPH, (psychiatrist/composer) and live concert excerpts from the opera The Center Cannot Hold, based on the memoir by Elyn Saks, JD, PhD.

Elyn Saks is the Orrin B. Evans Distinguished Professor of Law, and Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at University of Southern California Gould School of Law; Director of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy and Ethics. She began having schizophrenic episodes in high school and spiraled into the depths of the illness when she was a student at Yale Law School. Based on her 2007 memoir of the same name, The Center Cannot Hold opera follows Saks during a pivotal time at Yale as she ultimately faces her demons and resolves to live her life as fully as she can, whatever it takes. Elyn Saks, who serves as a colibrettist to the opera, will also be present at the event and will speak about the opera and her experience.

Dr. Wells is a Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at David Geffen School of Medicine and Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Professor of Health Policy and Management in Fielding School of Public Health, Affiliated Adjunct Staff at RAND, Staff Psychiatrist at Greater Los Angeles VA. The singers accompanying Dr. Wells will include Maggie Finnegan, Ryne Cherry, and Wes Hunter.

Hosted by the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard Initiative Human Rights focus area and the Harvard Law School Project on Disability.