Dr. Kenneth Wells, professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public health, has composed an opera based on the memoir of his friend, University of Southern California professor Elyn Saks, and her lifelong struggle with schizophrenia. 

This is Wells’ second opera adapting Saks’ memoir, “The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness.” At the end of the first, Saks’ character has taken the audience through episodes of psychosis during her studies at Yale Law School, hospitalization and finally, graduating with support from family and friends. The new opera, “The Center Cannot Hold, Part 2: Recovery,” will follow Saks on the next stages of her journey, where she joins the faculty at USC Law School and falls in love.

“I think it’s important for people to know that even with a serious mental illness there are paths to having meaningful and rich lives,” said Wells, who is also the David Weil Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and director of the Center for Health Services and Society at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

“The Center Cannot Hold, Part 2” will be performed on June 17, June 23 and June 25 at the UCLA Semel Auditorium, and will also be livestreamed. Please register for the live performance or for the livestream.

Read the full story about Wells’ opera on the UCLA Health website.