Music by Ferdinand Herold / John Lanchbery
Past times, when one had to /wanted to/ was able to, guard young girls: Blissful or disastrous times…
Frederick Ashton reminisces on these times in his up-beat masterpiece of 1960. He tells the story of the young lovers Lise and Colas, the widow Simone, the farmer Thomas and his extremely clumsy son Alain in a brilliantly simple manner, with virtuosity and a focus on youthful naivety. There is much to take in for the eyes: A hay wagon, ponies, a rooster and his ladies, and folks dancing around the maypole who are surprised by a thunderstorm. Instantaneously, these charmingly innocent images accompanied by harmonious music can turn into intricate choreography which reminds us of the genius that was Frederick Ashton.
Only a few of the 20th century classics assume such high technical standards for its protagonists, in fact very few works can afford to be as simplistic in beauty, spiced with a hint of irony and topped off with a good portion of pure joy. “Very British!?” – let yourself be challenged by the attractive appeal of the English ballet that unites seemingly contradictory assets in its great works.