Philip Venables

4.48 Psychosis and Denis & Katya among the ‘best of the decade’ or ‘best of 2019’

31 December 2019 - news

Both 4.48 Psychosis and Denis & Katya have appeared in a number of ‘Best of 2019’ or ‘Best of the Decade’ lists. Here is a selection:

4.48 Psychosis at the top of the list of Alex Ross’ Best Performances of 2019 in The New Yorker

“It has been wonderful to follow, then, the success of Philip Venables’s 2016 adaptation of Sarah Kane’s final play, 4:48 Psychosis. This opera, which dispenses with pretty much every standard operatic precept, except the basic ones of artistic means – sung characters on stage and an orchestra playing with them – has played to audiences in Britain, Germany, France and most recently New York, opening our eyes to what musical theatre is capable of, if you forget pretty much everything you associate with the terms ‘opera’ or ‘musical theatre’.” — Times Literary Supplement

“After “4.48 Psychosis,” Philip Venables and Ted Huffman’s brutal operatic study of mental illness, impressed in New York in January, expectations were high for their new piece, the highlight of Opera Philadelphia’s O19 festival in September. Written for two singers and four cellos, and performed on a nearly bare stage, “Denis & Katya” was a stark yet sensitive study of the voices surrounding a real-life tragedy: the death (possibly at the hands of Russian security forces) of two teenage lovers holed up with weapons in a cabin in 2016. Never didactic, it nevertheless suggested, through tense, delicate music, musings on language, storytelling, social media and artistic ethics.” — New York Times

“Opera Philadelphia’s September festival redrew the cutting edge with Denis & Katya. The compact, 80-minute opera of sorts by composer Philip Venables and librettist Ted Huffman told the story — with layers and layers of perspective — of gun-toting Russian teenagers who shared their standoff with police on social media in real time. The narrative was anything but discursive, but explored these unheroic, abbreviated lives with a directness that doesn’t always happen in opera. Words were spoken, printed and, of course, sung.”The Philadelphia Inquirer

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