La Fille mal Gardée, by the French composer, Ferdinand Hérold, is the oldest and one of the most important works in the modern ballet repertory. It was one of the first ballets about ‘real’ people, rather than gods or kings and queens and its plot is a simple one: boy meets girl, problems arise and are overcome, boy gets girl. It was premiéred in Bordeaux in 1789, two weeks before the fall of the Bastille.
It has been kept alive by way of numerous revivals. Undoubtedly the most well-known of these is Sir Frederick Ashton’s spectacularly successful version of 1960, since when it is has become a staple of ballet companies throughout the world. The ballet’s most popular ‘number’ is the Clog Dance – most famously danced by Ashton himself as Widow Simone (in clogs, as you might expect), assisted by ballerinas in clogs on points!
Optional woodblock part for bassoon 3 – or get those keys clattering! A great encore piece.