Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Aeternum. It was last on stage 22 February—14 March 2013 as part of the Winter 2012/13 season.
The three movements of Britten's Sinfonia da requiem – Lacrymosa, Dies irae and Requiem aeternam – are reflected in haunting choreography that unfolds amid designs that recall a battlefield.
Christopher Wheeldon created Aeternum for The Royal Ballet in 2013. In recognition of Britten's centenary year Wheeldon selected the composer's harrowing Sinfonia da requiem, a three-movement work created in 1940 and intended in part as a memorial to the young composer's recently deceased parents. Wheeldon's ballet not only pays homage to Britten's profound powers as a lyricist but also transforms the work into a remembrance for the dead, especially the fallen of World War II. The ballet was awarded the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2013.
The designs by Wheeldon's regular collaborator Jean-Marc Puissant (DGV: Danse à grand vitesse and Electric Counterpoint) are dominated by a vast wooden structure that lifts and moves throughout the ballet, at one point suggesting a nest, at another gasping ribs. Wheeldon's expressionist, taut choreography has countless powerful images, perhaps most striking of all when the lead ballerina clutches her leg to her body like a rifle, aiming it implacably at the audience.
News and features
11 November 2014
The dancer-turned-designer is behind some of contemporary ballet's greatest works of recent years.
8 November 2014
What did you think of The Royal Ballet's latest mixed programme featuring works by Kim Brandstrup, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon?
31 October 2014
Although he only created one full-length ballet, the composer had more to do with dance than you might think.
6 things you need to know about The Royal Ballet's mixed programme of Ceremony of Innocence / The Age of Anxiety / Aeternum29 October 2014
Our quick guide to the world premiere from Liam Scarlett and two recent highly-acclaimed works from Kim Brandstrup and Christopher Wheeldon.
10 October 2014
Another chance to watch Royal Ballet daily class in full, rehearsals, interviews and more.
24 September 2014
The Royal Ballet will join forces with four other world-class companies, offering glimpses into morning class and rehearsals, with exclusive interviews.