Auden Songs is a 20-minute contemporary ballet. The ballet’s score is assembled from Benjamin Britten’s settings, for baritone and piano, of poems by W.H. Auden. Some of the songs were published as part of the cycle On This Island, and others were published individually. A recording of Auden himself reading “The Wanderer” acts as a score for the work’s prologue.
The work explores friendships and romantic entanglements between a group of young people. Excerpts of the ballet—totalling six movements and fifteen minutes—were performed in the National Ballet of Canada’s Choreographic Lab, an in-studio showing of new work, in August 2006 to positive reaction.
Please contact me if you are interested in viewing archival video of the work; it cannot be made publicly available due to the terms of the collective agreement between Actor’s Equity and the National Ballet.
The work as performed featured eight dancers in six excerpts—each a complete song. The recording used featured Phillip Langridge, baritone, and Steuart Bedford accompanying on the piano.
Full cast: Kevin Bowles, Jordana Daumec, James Leja, Marissa Parzei, Sonia Rodriguez, Jenna Savella, Robert Stephen, Nan Wang
- “Look, stranger” from On This Island: full cast
- “The sun shines down” fromOn This Island: Bowles/Leja/Savella/Stephen/Wang
- “As It Is, Plenty” from On This Island: Leja
- “Now the Leaves are Falling Fast” On This Island: Bowles/Leja/Stephen/Wang
- “Nocturne” from On This Island: Bowles/Rodriguez, Savella/Stephen
- Fish in the Unruffled Lakes: Savella/Stephen