Music: Louis Joseph Ferdinand Hérold
Musical arrangements: John Lanchbery
Sets and Costumes: Osbert Lancaster
Lighting design: Jean-Pierre Gasquet
Musical preparation: Václav Zahradník
Conductor: Václav Zahradník
This fascinating ballet comedy undoubtedly belongs to the treasure of the world ballet and the story is appealing to audiences of all genearations. 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 summer 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. Advantage is that the viewer does not need to know the story in advance in order to understand and enjoy it. The Gestures and the characters are so expressive that they tell everything themselves.
Photo of the visual image: The Queens, Alexandre Katsapov a Mário Bakuš
Photo: Martin Divíšek
Approximate running time, including intermission: 2 hours 15 minutes, 20-minute intermission included