The Royal Ballet presents ‘La Fille mal gardée’ online

Frederick Ashton’s delightful ballet La Fille mal gardée is the next online production from The Royal Ballet – available to view free of charge.

Starring Marianela Nuñez as Lise, Carlos Acosta as Colas and William Tuckett as Widow Simone, the ballet is set to music by John Lanchbery, arranged and orchestrated from the original 1828 score by Ferdinand Hérold. It’s a lyrical, fun and colourful work, with a melodious score and plenty of lighthearted humour.

La Fille mal gardée – which translates as The Wayward Daughter – was originally choreographed by French Ballet Master Jean D’Auberval in 1789. Not only was it one of the first comic ballets, but also one of the first to feature realistic – as opposed to mythological or idealistic – characters. Although the original choreography is no longer in existence, the ballet is regarded as one of the oldest still in the repertoire of contemporary companies, and Ashton’s version – premiered by The Royal Ballet in 1960 – is one of the more recent interpretations, another being the 1882 version by Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa.

Ashton’s ballet, reflecting his love of the Suffolk countryside, has a rural setting, the action taking place on a farm. It tells of Widow Simone’s desire to have her daughter Lise marry Alain, son of a wealthy landowner, but Lise, who’s in love with a young farmer Colas is determined to get her own way. The fact that Alain has as little interest in her as she has in him, helps Lise to win her mother over, and secure her blessing to a match with Colas.

Featuring some of Ashton’s most creative – and technically challenging – choreography, the ballet has some lovely comic touches – with dancing chickens in the farmyard, and Widow Simone’s clog dance – and the maypole dance and pas de ruban are simply lovely.

Anthony Twiner leads the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in this performance of La Fille mal gardée, which is available to view on Friday 12 June at 7.00 pm on Youtube and Facebook – and on these channels until 26th June.

Information sourced from:

Royal Ballet programme notes

Encyclopaedia Britannica

For more information on Sir Frederick Ashton, visit

ArtsPreview home page

Comments are closed.