Rave reviews for 4.48 Psychosis in NYC
January 28, 2019 - news
4.48 Psychosis made its american premiere in New York City a few weeks ago at the Prototype Festival. The exceptional cast, orchestra and crew gave six performances of the Royal Opera production (directed by Ted Huffman) over eight days in the Baruch Performing Arts Centre. The performances were sold out, and the response from the press was incredible. Here is a small selection.
“there was no denying the sledgehammer power of Philip Venables’s “4.48 Psychosis” […] Venables’s bent for politically charged topics is all the more conspicuous because of his frequent use of speaking voices, which are coördinated with rapid-fire instrumental lines. Yet he is also a composer of considerable refinement, who can weave ethereal textures from a few carefully chosen pitches. This combination of savagery and economy makes for an arrestingly original musical personality.” — Alex Ross, The New Yorker
“In his opera, which had its premiere with the Royal Opera in London in 2016, the composer Philip Venables has found in Kane’s material a landscape of iciness and sensitivity, in which speaking and singing flow into one another with uncanny ease. […] All in all, this “4.48” avoids neither the text’s moments of pitch-black humor nor its passages of luminous air; it doesn’t prettify Kane, nor does it make her brutality unendurable. Elegantly ferocious, it is this unclassifiable play as music.” — Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times
“Despite violence, Venables gives a rendering of depression that accentuates tenacity, intelligence, and humanity.” — Lana Norris, I Care If You Listen.
“Venables takes full advantage of the play’s meandering stream-of-consciousness in a searing, kaleidoscopic score which foregrounds the lyricism and brutality of Kane’s text. Venables’ score has an unremitting intensity, endowing Kane’s play with a visceral impact so often missing from theatrical productions of the work. Textual contrasts are pushed to extremes in a score that alternates between Artaudian delirium and baroque detachment. […] Ultimately, 4.48 Psychosis is a heart-stopping, utterly devastating night at the opera, not to be missed.” — Callum John Blackmore, Parterre Box