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Background

4.48 Psychosis was the astonishing final work of the radical British playwright Sarah Kane, first performed posthumously in 2000. Detailing the experience of clinical depression, the play harrowingly reveals, through poetry, anger and dark humour, an individual’s struggle to come to terms with their own psychosis, the numbers in the title referring to the time in the early morning when clarity and bleak despair strike together.

Philip Venables – The Royal Opera’s first Composer-in-Residence through a joint programme with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama – is a British composer with a strong musical language and visceral sense of theatre. In his new operatic adaptation of Kane’s play, directed by Ted Huffman, the search for love and happiness and the struggle for identity are explored through a fusion of opera with spoken and visual text. Presented at the Lyric Hammersmith, this is a production that promises to bring a new resonance to the last creative utterances of one of the most courageous young British writers of her generation.

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