When to see it
This work is being performed as part of a mixed programme:
The Royal Ballet celebrates the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with an all-Bernstein programme from the Company’s three associate choreographers, Wayne McGregor, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon.
In a New York bar in wartime four lonely strangers attempt to find spiritual meaning in an industrialized world.
The Royal Ballet’s Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett created The Age of Anxiety on the Company in 2014. After his dark, probing narrative works Sweet Violets and Hansel and Gretel he turned to Leonard Bernstein’s Second Symphony and the epic poem by W.H. Auden that inspired it. As the Evening Standard wrote at the ballet’s premiere, ‘Scarlett’s bitter-sweet take on American modernism… brilliantly conveys the sadness beneath the skin’.
Bernstein had an intense emotional response to Auden’s poem, which explores the atmosphere of disillusionment and uncertainty that followed World War II; he later wrote that ‘When I first read the book I was breathless’. In the symphony this deep personal resonance is married with Bernstein’s instinctive sense of rhythm, which has made his music so ideal for dance. John Macfarlane, who has collaborated with Scarlett on all his main-stage works for The Royal Ballet, provides designs ‘superb in detail and atmosphere’ (The Guardian).
News and features
24 April 2017
Choreographer Liam Scarlett gives a glimpse of his new ballet set to Rachmaninoff's remarkable score.
19 May 2015
The three-week tour will see the Company perform in Washington D.C., Chicago and New York.
22 January 2015
How do beautiful performances emerge from such dark, cramped conditions?
15 January 2015
The Company will perform in Washington D.C., Chicago and New York over the course of three weeks.
20 November 2014
How and where choreographers find stories has changed throughout the art form's history.
14 November 2014
Sarah Lamb to replace Laura Morera in the role of Rosetta.