In 4:48 Psychosis, written shortly before her tragic suicide at when she was only 28 in 1999, she was brutally frank about her own clinical depression. But she also had the gift, in the great tradition of drama in English, of making the blackest episodes touching and even funny.
When the composer Philip Venables wrote an opera inspired by the play, it was staged to great acclaim by the Royal Opera at Lyric Hammersmith. Now it returns after two years, during which time it picked up a host of awards and nominations, including the 2017 British Composer Award for Venables, in the stage works category.
In its 24 scenes,4:48 Psychosis creates an abstract world of words in which conventional plot and characterisation give way to poetic episodes.
Scored for six female singers and chamber ensemble, who are integrated into the action in Ted Huffman’s production, it stars an impressive line-up drawn from today's most versatile young singers: Lucy Hall, Susanna Hurrell, Rachel Lloyd, Clare Presland, Gweneth-Ann Rand and Lucy Schaufer.
Venables was the first doctoral composer-in-residence at The Royal Opera and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, an appointment which supports opera. Aware of Kane's visceral reputation, of 4:48 Psychosis he says: ‘It’s not about blood and guts – it’s about that huge conflict of wanting love and wanting happiness and not being able to find it.'
4:48 Psychosis is sung in English. Running time is 1 hour 30 minutes, with no interval. There are seven performances. The first (23 April) is free for residents of Hammersmith or Fulham: click here for more details of this scheme or phone 020 8741 6850. Booking is open now
|4:48 Psychosis, Royal Opera at Lyric Hammersmith
|Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King St, W6 0QL | MAP
|Hammersmith (Piccadilly and District lines) (underground)
23 Apr 18 – 04 May 18, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
|£0 - £40
|Click here for more information and booking