Live Cinema Season

La Fille mal gardée (2015)

Recorded | Ballet

Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes (including 1 interval)

La Fille mal gardée (2015)

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


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.


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



Frederick Ashton


Ferdinand Hérold

Arrangement and orchestration

John Lanchbery


Jean Dauberval


Osbert Lancaster

Lighting designer

John B. Read

Performed by
The Royal Ballet


Barry Wordsworth
Natalia Osipova
Steven McRae
Widow Simone
Philip Mosley
Paul Kay
Christopher Saunders
Michael Stojko
Lise's Friends
Village Notary
Gary Avis
Notary's Clerk
Michael Stojko
Concert Master
Vasko Vassilev
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

News and features

To find out more visit the La Fille mal gardée (2015) production page.