Premiere performance: 11 May 2023 at the State Opera
- April 2024
- June 2024
The State OperaApproximate running time
1 hour 40 minutes, 1 intermission (25 minutes) minutesPremiere
May 11, 2023
The world premiere of the ballet La Sylphide, created by Filippo Taglioni, took place at the Opéra de Paris in 1832. Four years later, the Danish choreographer August Bournonville presented in Copenhagen his own production, to music by the Norwegian composer Herman von Løvenskiold, with Lucile Grahn dancing the role of the Sylph and Bournonville himself portraying the character of James. A gem of the Romantic repertoire, La Sylphide has ever since been performed at theatres worldwide.
The Czech National Ballet in Prague will stage an adaptation of the ballet La Sylphide by Johan Kobborg, a Bournonville connoisseur.
Johan Kobborg gained great acclaim as principal dancer of the Royal Danish Ballet and The Royal Ballet in London. He has also been a sought-after choreographer and director. His La Sylphide is a tribute to August Bournonville and his work, a vital part of the global cultural heritage.
“I am a sylph … I come from another world, and you dream about me.”
And indeed – although she is a phantom, James will soon become obsessed by her, he will love the sylph.
The ballet La Sylphide tells the story of James, a young Scotsman, whose mind is riven. Possessing a restless soul, although he adores Effie, his tender bride-to-be, he longs for a different world, with his visions transcending earthly life. Is it appropriate to dream of sylphs on one’s wedding day? James is duly approached by a sylph, an ungraspable symbol of his desires, who lures him to the forest. Yet a sylph cannot be caught – whenever James stretches out his arm to touch her, she escapes. And when he finally embraces her, she dies. Sylphs cannot live and love like humans …
Precious few ballets occupy a position in the history of art as extraordinary as that of La Sylphide. A ground-breaking work applying a novel dance technique, with the heroine being a spirit clad in a mousseline costume with wings, it shows audiences an entirely different universe, inhabited by magical supernatural beings, a world reflecting desire and dream. The ballet La Sylphide centres on the clash between the real and the unreal, depicting destructive love and extreme emotions.
Johan Kobborg’s La Sylphide has been staged at numerous prestigious theatres worldwide. Premiered by The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden in London in 2005, it earned Kobborg a nomination for the coveted Laurence Olivier Awards. Highly acclaimed too was the ballet’s 2008 Bolshoi Theatre production, which received three Golden Mask 2009 nominations (Best Production, Best Choreographer and Best Dancers categories). In 2014, the ballet’s production in Romania was branded as “Achievement of the Year”. Kobborg’s La Sylphide has also been presented by the Ballett Zürich, the Lithuanian National Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada and the Atlanta Ballet. In 2023, it is scheduled to be staged by the Sarasota Ballet, Florida.
The Bournonville phenomenon is timeless. A unique, singular style, which has remained virtually unchanged since its inception, it has been treasured and nurtured in Denmark. The technique has made an impact on classical dance and the ballet repertoire, the approach to direction and staging, as well as dance training. The Bournonville idiom differs from the other ballet styles by its encompassing special enchaînements. Its main principles include that the dancers should perform with natural grace, levity and harmony between the body and music.
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