Libretto by Adolphe Nourrit and Filippo Taglioni
Choreography: August Bournonville
Staging: Elsa-Marianne von Rosen
Stage Design: Sergey Solomko
Costumes: Oleg Vinogradov
Revival of the choreography: Mikhail Messerer
Revival of the stage and costume design: Vyacheslav Okunev
Lighting: Alexander Kibitkin
Principal Pianist: Tamara Potapova
ballet in two acts
music by Herman Løvenskiold
Première of the production at the Maly Opera and Ballet Theatre: 29 November 1975
Première of the revival: 12 November 2016
The ballet, which has maintained the romantic dancing style for many years and became one of biggest theatrical legends of the 19th century, comes to our stage in Danish choreographer August Bournonville’s version. The illusiveness and unattainability of one’s dreams are revealed through the story of James, a young Scotsman. He has promised his heart to a girl from the local village but then comes across an enchanting spirit of the air, the sylph. Having forsaken everything on earth, the young man attempts to get close to this spectral beauty.
James, Effie’s young fiance, is sleeping in an armchair by the fireplace. Suddenly there appears a sylph, an airy spirit. She is fluttering around James and wakes him up with a kiss. James wants to catch the sylph, but she vanishes in the air. The young man cannot stop thinking of the fairy girl, he has just seen.
Madge, a witch, has come to the house to foretell the future of the young. She prophesies that James will not marry Effie. James makes the witch to leave the house, which she does, full of wishes to revenge. At the wedding party the sylph appears again, seen to nobody but James. She steals James’s wedding ring and vanishes again. James follows her, leaving Effie alone.
In the magic wood Madge is conjuring spells over the boiling pot. She is holding a scarf. Tired James has come to her: he cannot find the sylph. She comes and leaves again and again. Madge gives James a magic scarf that would help to captivate the sylph. When he finds her again, James puts the scarf around the sylph’s shoulders. The scarf is poisoned: her wings fall off, she is dying. Other sylphs carry her away. James is inconsolable.
He can see the wedding party: his fiancée Effie has just married Gurn...