Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Sweet Violets. It was last on stage 14–26 May 2014.
Walter Sickert is fascinated by a series of sensational murders. When he draws on the killings as inspiration for his paintings, imagination and reality start to blur.
Sweet Violets, Liam Scarlett’s first narrative ballet, had its premiere at the Royal Opera House in 2012. It is based on artist Walter Sickert’s obsession with the Jack the Ripper killings and the murder of prostitute Emily Dimmock, which inspired his ‘Camden Town Murder’ paintings (1908) and Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom (1907). Sweet Violets is set to Sergey Rachmaninoff’s 1893 Trio élégiaque, which expressed the composer’s grief at the death of his friend and mentor Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky.
John MacFarlane’s designs conjure up the shadowy underworld of late-Victorian and Edwardian London: prostitutes’ shabby bedrooms, rundown artists’ studios and East End backstreets. Scarlett’s powerful choreography probingly explores the web of fact and fiction that surrounds the Jack the Ripper legend. The ballet raises questions about obsession, violence and artistic creativity.
News and features
24 April 2017
Choreographer Liam Scarlett gives a glimpse of his new ballet set to Rachmaninoff's remarkable score.
12 May 2016
Psychological, dramatic and dark — Scarlett's one-act ballets have made him one of the world's most sought-after young choreographers.
9 October 2014
A behind-the-scenes look at the choreographer’s new work for The Royal Ballet.
15 May 2014
What did you think of The Royal Ballet's Mixed Programme?
14 May 2014
A quick guide to The Royal Ballet's triple programme of one-act ballets by Balanchine, Scarlett and Wheeldon.
30 April 2014
The artist's fascination with a 1907 murder has fuelled a variety of conspiracy theories.