As the first Doctoral Composer-in-Residence of the Royal Opera House and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Philip Venables has – some might say bravely – chosen to adapt 4.48 Psychosis, the last play by the late British playwright Sarah Kane. Brave for several reasons. Kane's work is renowned for its naked, sometimes brutal, expression and themes, and the nihilism and violence of her plays have caused critical uproar in the past. Moreover, her estate has until now been understandably protective of her legacy; Venables's opera, premiered in May, is the first adaptation they have permitted, and came with instructions to remain as true as possible to the text.
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