4.48 Psychose

Philip Venables

Chamber opera in one act after Sarah Kane German by Durs Grünbein

Premiere 26. April 2019

Performed in German


»At 4.48 am, when clarity descends for an hour and twelve minutes, I’m in my right mind.« Philip Venables’ award-winning chamber opera from 2016, based on the play of the same name by the English playwright Sarah Kane (1971-1999), draws the audience deep into the psyche of a person suffering emotional turmoil, fears and illness by means of 24 situational tableaux. The constant and deeply touching struggle for normality, love, life and acceptance blurs the boundary between sickness and health. Again and again we are forced to ask: How can a life be in harmony with itself? From the musical perspective of six singers and twelve orchestral musicians, the unspeaking silence expands into a tangible space by means of highly poetic and at the same time ruthless texts. Tobias Heyder’s German-language premiere places the performers, musicians and audience in a »mental space«, where scenery and action are reduced to the essentials.

Please note that there may be an increased volume level at some times.


Through the course of 24 scenes, »4.48 Psychosis« illustrates the deep emotional condition of psychosis. The time 4:48 a.m. marks the beginning of an hour in-between two medication doses, when the effect of the one dose is almost exhausted and the intake of the next dose is still to come: the timeframe with the greatest clarity and simultaneously, the deepest depression. 

The defining theme of the inner dialogues, thoughts, memory fragments, confessions of love, aggressive outbursts against one’s self, rants against the rest of the world, statements of longing and despair, hospital records, test results, and lists of medication is the perceived-to-be insurmountable rift between body and soul.

With text, free from a concrete cast of characters and without a clear plotline, 6 singers and 12 musicians make a barely comprehensible situation clear and tangible in musically multi-layered scenes of singing, recordings, spoken text, film sequences and soundscape.

Further information
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