Opera

4.48 Psychosis

Philip Venables

Chamber opera in one act after Sarah Kane (2016) German by Durs Grünbein Performed in German

When English playwright Sarah Kane conquered the world stage from the mid-1990s with works such as »Blasted« and »Phaedra’s Love«, she was regarded as the great hope for the future of theatre. Her plays present a brutally honest view of our violent modern society, delineated with an impressive directness that conjures up the raw power of Ancient Greek drama. Kane talked publicly about her severe depression and psychotic episodes, choosing this as the topic for her last play, »4.48 Psychosis«, which is typically unsparing in its representation. 4.48 is the time in the morning when she often woke up and experienced moments of greatest clarity. Sarah Kane committed suicide in February 1999. The play, premiered posthumously, offers deep insight into the inner conflicts and loneliness as well as the hopes and desires of its protagonist. The young English composer Philip Venables (*1979) chose this play as the basis for his first full-length opera, which premiered to great success at London’s Royal Opera House in 2016. Venables has created an original tale that vividly continues Kane’s narrative with musical sophistication and great sonic inventiveness. For this opera, Philip Venables was awarded the British Composer Award 2017 (the most important prize for new compositions in the UK) as well as the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Award in the category Large-Scale Composition, and was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award. Philip Venables has developed a German version of his opera for the Semperoper, based on the translation by the Dresden poet and essayist Durs Grünbein.

Summary

When English playwright Sarah Kane conquered the world stage from the mid-1990s with works such as »Blasted« and »Phaedra’s Love«, she was regarded as the great hope for the future of theatre. Her plays present a brutally honest view of our violent modern society, delineated with an impressive directness that conjures up the raw power of Ancient Greek drama. Kane talked publicly about her severe depression and psychotic episodes, choosing this as the topic for her last play, »4.48 Psychosis«, which is typically unsparing in its representation. 4.48 is the time in the morning when she often woke up and experienced moments of greatest clarity. Sarah Kane committed suicide in February 1999. The play, premiered posthumously, offers deep insight into the inner conflicts and loneliness as well as the hopes and desires of its protagonist. The young English composer Philip Venables (*1979) chose this play as the basis for his first full-length opera, which premiered to great success at London’s Royal Opera House in 2016. Venables has created an original tale that vividly continues Kane’s narrative with musical sophistication and great sonic inventiveness. For this opera, Philip Venables was awarded the British Composer Award 2017 (the most important prize for new compositions in the UK) as well as the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Award in the category Large-Scale Composition, and was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award. Philip Venables has developed a German version of his opera for the Semperoper, based on the translation by the Dresden poet and essayist Durs Grünbein.

Complete Cast

The German version has been commissioned
by Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden

Recommendations

Selected Performance Premiere

  • Friday 26 Apr 2019
  • Starting Time 7 pm

  • Venue Semper Zwei

Free introductory talk

  • 30 minutes before the performance at Semper Zwei

Cast

The German version has been commissioned
by Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden

Selected Performance

  • Monday 29 Apr 2019
  • Starting Time 7 pm

  • Venue Semper Zwei

Free introductory talk

  • 30 minutes before the performance at Semper Zwei

Nachgespräch im Anschluss an die Vorstellung im Zuschauerraum von Semper Zwei

Cast

The German version has been commissioned
by Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden

Selected Performance

  • Friday 3 May 2019
  • Starting Time 7 pm

  • Venue Semper Zwei

Free introductory talk

  • 30 minutes before the performance at Semper Zwei

Nachgespräch im Anschluss an die Vorstellung im Zuschauerraum von Semper Zwei

Cast

The German version has been commissioned
by Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden

Selected Performance

  • Saturday 4 May 2019
  • Starting Time 7 pm

  • Venue Semper Zwei

Free introductory talk

  • 30 minutes before the performance at Semper Zwei

Nachgespräch im Anschluss an die Vorstellung im Zuschauerraum von Semper Zwei

Cast

The German version has been commissioned
by Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden

Selected Performance

  • Monday 6 May 2019
  • Starting Time 7 pm

  • Venue Semper Zwei

Free introductory talk

  • 30 minutes before the performance at Semper Zwei

Nachgespräch im Anschluss an die Vorstellung im Zuschauerraum von Semper Zwei

Cast

The German version has been commissioned
by Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden

Selected Performance

  • Wednesday 8 May 2019
  • Starting Time 7 pm

  • Venue Semper Zwei

Free introductory talk

  • 30 minutes before the performance at Semper Zwei

Nachgespräch im Anschluss an die Vorstellung im Zuschauerraum von Semper Zwei

Cast

The German version has been commissioned
by Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden

Selected Performance

  • Friday 10 May 2019
  • Starting Time 7 pm

  • Venue Semper Zwei

Free introductory talk

  • 30 minutes before the performance at Semper Zwei

Nachgespräch im Anschluss an die Vorstellung im Zuschauerraum von Semper Zwei

Cast

The German version has been commissioned
by Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden