Marianela Nuñez as Lise and Carlos Acosta as Colas in La Fille mal gardée ©ROH/Tristram Kenton, 2012

La Fille mal gardée

1126 June 2020
12 – 26 June 2020
Online only
Ballet and dance

Frederick Ashton's La Fille mal gardée (The Wayward Daughter) is one of the choreographer's most joyous and colourful creations. Inspired by his love for the Suffolk countryside, the ballet is set on a farm and tells a story of love between Lise, the daughter of Widow Simone, and Colas, a young farmer. It contains some of Ashton's most stunning choreography, most strikingly in the series of energetic pas de deux that express the youthful passion of the young lovers, performed here by Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta. The ballet is laced with exuberant good humour, and elements of national folk dance, from dancing chickens and a maypole dance to a Lancashire clog dance for Widow Simone, performed with wit and charm by William Tuckett. Osbert Lancaster’s colourful designs heighten the production’s delightful pastoral wit.

La Fille mal gardée 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. The ballet's premiere in 1960 was a resounding success and it remains a firm favourite of The Royal Ballet’s repertory.

With warm thanks to

Season Principal Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Aud Jebsen, The Kirsh Foundation, Julia and Hans Rausing and all the supporters of The Royal Ballet

Other ways to watch


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


ConductorAnthony Twiner

LiseMarianela Nuñez

ColasCarlos Acosta

Widow SimoneWill Tuckett

OrchestraOrchestra of the Royal Opera House


ChoreographyFrederick Ashton

MusicFerdinand Hérold

Arrangement and orchestrationJohn Lanchbery

ScenarioJean Dauberval

DesignerOsbert Lancaster

Lighting designerJohn B. Read


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