That Word is a setting of American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay's (1892 - 1950) "Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word", a powerful feminist poem about a woman's decision to seek her own independence. From the offset of the poem, it's clear the speaker is quite unhappy with her relationship with her husband, describing various ways in which she is continually oppressed and patronized by him. Ultimately she declares that in the near future, she plans to leave her spouse to make a better life for herself and won't answer when he "whistles" for her.
Soprano and piano
This Is That was commissioned and premiered virtually by soprano Chelsea Kolić on July 10, 2021 as part of the N.E.O. Voice Festival.