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La Fille mal gardée

The Royal Ballet

Frederick Ashton’s joyful ballet The Wayward Daughter features some of his most brilliant choreography.

Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of La Fille mal gardée. It was last on stage 27 September—22 October 2016 as part of the Autumn 2016/17 season.

The Story

Lise is the only daughter of Widow Simone. Lise loves Colas, a young farmer – but her mother has far more ambitious plans, and is determined that Lise marry Alain, the son of a wealthy landowner.

Alain seems as uninterested in marrying Lise as Lise is Alain. Simone persists on making the match until eventually her good nature gets the better of her, and she gives Lise and Colas her blessing.

Background

Frederick Ashton’s final full-length ballet La Fille mal gardée (The Wayward Daughter) is one of his most joyous creations, inspired by his love for the Suffolk countryside. It is based on a 1789 French ballet originally created by Jean Dauberval; John Lanchbery created the music for Ashton’s ballet from Ferdinand Hérold’s 1828 score. La Fille mal gardée was a resounding success on its premiere in 1960 and has remained a firm favourite in The Royal Ballet’s repertory.

The ballet displays some of Ashton’s most virtuoso choreography, most strikingly in the series of energetic pas de deux that express the youthful passion of Lise and Colas. The ballet is also laced with exuberant good humour, in a whirl of dancing chickens, grouchy guardians and one very unwilling suitor. Ashton affectionately incorporated elements of national folk dance into his choreography, from a Lancashire clog dance to a maypole dance, making La Fille mal gardée – despite its title – emphatically English. Osbert Lancaster’s colourful designs heighten the production’s delightful pastoral wit.

Frederick Ashton created more than one hundred works during his lifetime (1904–88). For further information, please visit www.frederickashton.org.uk.

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