La Fille mal gardée - Synopsis

La Fille mal gardée. Ensemble. ©Wilfried Hösl La Fille mal gardée. Cyril Pierre, Ensemble. ©Wilfried Hösl La Fille mal gardée. Ilana Werner, LukᚠSlavický. ©Wilfried Hösl

La Fille mal gardée

Frederick Ashton

Music by Ferdinand Herold / John Lanchbery


Scene 1. The farmyard
Lise is the only daughter of widow Simone, who is the owner of a successful agricultural farm. Lise is in love with the young farmer Colas, but her mother has considerably more ambitious plans for her daughter.
The rooster and his hens announce the morning of a busy working day. Lise is disappointed not to see Colas so she leaves a ribbon tied with a love knot as a symbol of her feelings. Colas finds it and ties it around his staff. The lovers meet but are disturbed by Simone who orders Lise to work. Lise's village friends come and invite her to play, but her thoughts are elsewhere. The rich and pompous wine merchant -Thomas - appears with his son Alain. Simone guesses their intentions and sends Lise away. Thomas asks for Lise’s hand in marriage to his son Alain. When Lise returns Alain behaves awkwardly and clumsily towards her, she is amused and not at all impressed by him. Everyone leaves for the harvest.

Scene 2. The grain field
It is harvest time and Colas and his harvesters are relaxing from their hard work with a merry dance. Lise dances with Alain but Colas butts in and Lise gives him preference. The harvesters make fun of Alain and his father must come to his rescue. Feeling triumphant, Colas dances with Lise. The general happy mood is broken by a sudden thunderstorm.


Scene 3. Inside the country house
Mother and daughter return soaked by the rain. They sit at the spinning wheel. However, tiredness overcomes Simone and she falls asleep. When Lise sees Colas behind the fence she tries to take the house door key from her mother's pocket. Unfortunately, Simone awakes and so as not to fall asleep again she taps the tambourine for Lise to dance. Soon however, tiredness wins.
The returning harvesters wake Simone. Colas hides between the straw bales. Simone provides drinks for the harvesters. Meanwhile, thinking she is alone, Lise daydreams about married life. Suddenly, Colas jumps out of his hiding and surprises Lise. After the embarrassment Colas reassures Lise and they again declare their feelings for each other.
When Simone returns, Lise quickly sends Colas to hide in her bedroom. However, Simone guesses that the couple have met and sends Lise to her bedroom and locks the door, unaware that Colas is there too.
Alain and his father arrive with the village notary in order to draw up the marriage contract. After all signatures, Simone gives the future son-in-law the bedroom key. After a short clumsy indecision, Alain unlocks the door and to everyone's dismay finds the amourous couple. They beg Simone for forgiveness and her blessing. Defying the rage of Thomas and Alain, Simone finally gives her consent to the young couple, much to the delight of all the villagers.