Le Jeune Homme et la Mort / La Sylphide
English National Ballet presents Roland Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et La Mort and Frank Andersen’s recreation of the beloved classic La Sylphide, performed for the first time in London.
Le Jeune Homme et la Mort
Le Jeune Homme et la Mort follows a young man hopelessly in love with a cruel mistress who torments him. Full of drama, it climaxes into an unforgettable, tragic ending.
This “ever-fascinating work of art” (Financial Times) has a libretto by Jean Cocteau, and is performed to Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor. It is renowned as a showcase for the world’s best male dancers.
Please note: Le Jeune Homme et la Mort contains adult themes, including suicide.
A thrilling display of virtuosityThe Guardian
On the morning of his wedding to his sweet fiancée Effy, James glimpses a mysterious forest spirit, and becomes obsessed with her. This sets off a fateful sequence of events where joy turns to sorrow and love to betrayal.
From joyous party scenes to lyrical duets, August Bournonville’s classic ballet has been devotedly recreated by Eva Kloborg and Frank Andersen. This captivating production is accompanied by an enchanting score, played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
One of the jewels of Romantic balletThe Independent
Le Jeune Homme et la Mort
Le Jeune Homme et la Mort (The Young Man and Death) follows a young man compelled by love fora cruel mistress. He desperately waits for her in his Parisian garret; but when she finally arrives, it is to torment him, daring him to commit suicide. When he kills himself, she returns with the mask of death and the two figures walk away.
Young James is shortly to marry his betrothed, Effy. He slumbers in his armchair. The Sylphide sits by his feet. She is in love with James and wakes him by kissing his forehead before vanishing through the chimney in the fireplace. James is spellbound and searches for the Sylphide, and his preoccupation with an invisible world confounds him. He barely notices Effy, who is courted by another young suitor, Gurn.
Preparations for the wedding are under way but are brought to a standstill when the sorcerer Madge suddenly appears. Despite James’s protest, the young girls including Effy, have their fortune told. According to the soothsayer, Gurn rather than James is to wed Effy. This rouses James’s anger and he sends the sorcerer on her way.
When James is alone in the living room, the Sylphide appears again. She lets him know that her destiny is forever tied to his and declares her love for him. James hesitates but only for a moment and is once again infatuated by her charm. Gurn has witnessed the scene and seeks to reveal the nature of James’s true love to the wedding guests. They brush his accusations aside and the ceremony, James has disappeared. He has left for the woods with the Sylphide and the poor bride-to-be is heartbroken.
Madge has summoned the witches for a gathering in the misty forest. They concoct a magic potion and weave a pink veil. Meanwhile the Sylphide has led James to her kingdom in the woods. When she asks James if he loves her, he hesitantly declares his love. The Sylphide’s many sisters dance for him.
The wedding guests search for James in the woods. Gurn finds his cap while Madge tells him of James’s infidelity. Gurn then plucks up the courage to propose to Effy who reluctantly accepts.
James is alone in the forest. He is torn between the Sylphide and Effy. Madge appears and promises to make the Sylphide return. She gives him the pink veil and tells him that the veil is to be used to capture the Sylphide. When the Sylphide returns, James follows Madge’s instructions. He wraps the Sylphide round in the veil and her fate is sealed. She has lost her freedom, loses her wings, and dies. Madge is delighted, and while Gurn leads Effy to the alter, the Sylphide is carried through the air by her sisters. James is shattered and sinks to the ground.
“A stylish company performance”
“An evening of fatal glamour”
“Glorious, bonkers fun”
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