Press & reviews

Original and intelligent in both form and content… reminiscent of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle; dripping in inexplicable meaning.

Exeunt Magazine

I cannot recall having been as powerfully moved by an opera as this, much of it watched with my hand clasped over my mouth.

Tempo Journal

It’s unhinged and chilling [...] Most of all, it is dizzyingly colourful.

The Financial Times

Philip Venables proves he’s one of the finest composers.

The Guardian

Philip Venables’s Illusions, a collaboration with performance artist David Hoyle, batters at the limits of form, emotion and sexuality in a ferocious assertion of LGBT individualism in the face of establishment nihilism and uncertainty – a brilliant, extreme work that grips like a vice and won’t let go.

The Guardian, UK

He challenges the conventions of opera. Via an array of resources he ambushes and refreshes an old art form.

The Observer

Experimentation in the service of absolute emotional precision: Venables’ economical work is one of the most exhilarating operas in years, even while it gives voice to some of the darkest thoughts imaginable.

The Spectator

Venables’s Fight Music, evoking a community beating up an outsider (the poor whimpering cello) was brutally effective.

The Times, UK

Numbers 76-80: Tristan und Isolde, by Philip Venables, began in a striking fashion with the quartet bashing out perfect fifths fortissimo; as the piece develops the excellent EXAUDI singers spoke most of Simon Howard's strangely exciting if rather baffling poem. There's genuine wit here, and pathos, and really terrifically flamboyant writing for the instrumentalists. What a thrilling moment there was when the singers suddenly burst into song rather than the spoken word! This composer is gaining a great reputation for original and sometimes quite brutally exhilarating music, and it's well worth watching out for him.

Seen and Heard

The music is duly playful and occasionally disturbing. The sound image of a face forming from shapeless buzzing was beautifully achieved, as was the concluding high G sustained by the soprano, capturing a nicely pared-down Liebestod.

The Guardian

Delicately spun melodies dissolved into bursts of aggression.... gritty, soulful...

The Strad

Venables's String Quartet - contrasting gestures, driven through three compact movements by a powerful sense of drama and structure.

The Times

Venables's Fight Music, evoking a community beating up an outsider (the poor whimpering cello) was brutally effective

The Times