Musical arrangements: John Lanchbery
Choreography: Frederick Ashton
Sets and Costumes: Osbert Lancaster
Lighting design: Jean-Pierre Gasquet
This fascinating ballet gives a chance to play a comedy. Some of the finest dancers worldwide have appeared in Sir Frederick Ashton’s highly acclaimed ballet, which has been staged at more than 35 theatres around the world, including the Paris Opera, Bolshoi Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet and National Ballet of Canada. The story is based on a 1789 French ballet originally created by Jean Dauberval. John Lanchbery adapted and arranged the music for Ashton’s ballet from Ferdinand Hérold’s 1828 score. Taking place in a pastoral setting inspired by Ashton’s love for the Suffolk countryside, the cartoon-like set design, featuring maypoles and dancing hens, creates a wonderful spring atmosphere full of sunshine. The detailed characters and poetic lyricism perfectly suit the story. The ballet is laced with exuberant good humour. La Fille mal gardée is one of Ashton’s most virtuoso choreographies, difficult in the series of energetic pas de deux and solos that express the youthful passion of Lise and her beloved Colas.