Bolshoi Ballet: The Sylphide - LIVE!

Bolshoi Ballet: The Sylphide

From the archive

This film was last shown on 30 September 2012

Why not make an afternoon of it with a Pre-Theatre Meal.

In a Scottish manor on the morning of his wedding, James awakens from a dream to discover a beautiful winged sylph before him. Entranced by the vision, he attempts to capture her, but she escapes him and vanishes. During the wedding preparations, James hardly notices his fiancée Effie; instead she is wooed by Gurn, whom she ignores. James joins in the preparations, but gradually he realises that his dreams go far beyond the walls of the manor, and that his obsession with the winged creature risks his own happiness and that of Effie.


La Sylphide is one of the oldest surviving romantic ballets. August Bournonville's version is an adaptation of an 1832 French ballet of the same name, which showcased the technique of the great 19th-century ballerina Maria Taglioni and ushered in a new Romantic era of dance. Bournonville was the first choreographer to recreate La Sylphide, and it is his version that has survived. It has been performed regularly by the Royal Danish Ballet since its premiere in 1836 and remains one of his most celebrated works. In La Sylphide, the human realm of a small Scottish community – evoked by traditional folksongs in Herman Løvenskiold's score – meets the spiritual realm of the otherworldly sylphs. James, a classic Romantic hero, is utterly bewitched by a beautiful sylph: although he is unable to touch her, he movingly echoes her movements in his own. Bournonville placed a greater emphasis on the narrative in his version of the ballet, and developed the characters of both James (a role he danced himself) and the embittered witch. This production is staged by the Danish choreographer Johan Kobborg, himself steeped in the Bournonville style.


Music: Herman Severin Løvenskiold

Libretto: Adolphe Nourrit, Filippo Taglioni

Choreography: August Bournonville

Production and new choreography: Johan Kobborg

Sets and costumes: Peter Farmer

Lighting design: Damir Ismagilov

Music director: TBC

With the Orchestra of the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre

With the Bolshoi soloists and the Bolshoi Corps de Ballet



Sylph - Ekaterina Krysanova

James - Vyacheslav Lopatin

Madge, witch - Irina Zibrova

Effie, James' fiancee - Anna Rebetskaya

Gurn - Denis Savin

Anna, James' mother - Irina Semirechenskaya

Two Friends - Alexander Vorobiyov, Alexander Voytyuk

Pas de six Ivan Alexeyev - Svetlana Pavlova, Maria Prorvich, Anna Proskurnina, Igor Tsvirko, Klim Yefimov

Old Musician - Andrei Sitnikov

The First Sylph - Anna Tikhomirova

Two Sylphs - Chinara Alizade, Yulia Lunkina

Conductor - Pavel Klinichev


140 mins


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