Yesterday, Philip Venables’ 4.48 Psychosis, a co-commission between the Guildhall School and The Royal Opera in association with The Lyric Hammersmith, was announced as the winner of the Achievement in Opera award at the UK Theatre Awards 2016. The opera received its world premiere on 24 May to critical acclaim, with The Guardian lauding it as ‘ a remarkable achievement’. The opera is the culmination of Venables’ position as inaugural Doctoral Composer-in-Residence at the Guildhall School and The Royal Opera.
B ased on the final work of the radical British playwright Sarah Kane, 4.48 Psychosis is the first operatic adaptation of a work by Kane and is scored for a small ensemble of singers and instrumentalists. Sopranos Gweneth-Ann Rand, Jennifer Davis and Susanna Hurrell, mezzo-sopranos Clare Presland, Lucy Schaufer, and Emily Edmonds and London-based chamber ensemble CHROMA premiered the opera in May 2016. The production was directed by Ted Huffman, who made his Royal Opera debut, and was conducted by Richard Baker, who is also Professor of Composition at the Guildhall School. The creative team was completed by designer Hannah Clark, who also made her Royal Opera debut, and lighting designer D.M. Wood.
Launched in 2013, the collaboration between the Guildhall School and The Royal Opera is one of the first examples of an opera company and conservatoire joining forces to offer a Composer-in-Residence studentship which leads to a doctoral research degree. Fully funded by the Guildhall School and supported by The Royal Opera, the studentship offers one composer every two years the opportunity to be Doctoral Composer-in-Residence over a three-year period and is supervised by Head of Composition at the Guildhall School Julian Philips and Associate Director of Opera at The Royal Opera John Fulljames . During this time, the composer researches and writes a major work, which is staged by The Royal Opera at the end of the residency. In September 2015 Na’ama Zisser joined the programme as the second Doctoral Composer-in-Residence. Her new opera is due to be staged by The Royal Opera in 2018 .
The Guildhall School of Music & Drama is provided by the City of London Corporation.