La Sylphide: Ballet Review
For someone who knows nothing about ballet, I’ve been to my fair share over the years. I’ve seen Cinderella about four times (with four different re-imaginings), as well as classics such as The Nutcracker and Pinocchio. When I heard that the WA Ballet was doing a production of La Sylphide, I knew I would have to go.
La Sylphide a Danish ballet, and is credited as the oldest surviving romantic ballet. What does this mean? This means that since its premiere in 1836, the ballet has been performed with Herman Severin Løvenskiold’s music, and August Bournonville’s original choreography.
Set in Scotland (ballet with kilts!), La Sylphide tells the tragic love story of a young man, James, enchanted by the beauty of a sylph (a forest fairy), who then abandons his fiancé Effie on the night of their wedding. The rest of the ballet is a tale of unrequited love and longing, as well as learning about the consequences of actions taken.
The West Australian Ballet performs La Sylphide with charm. The dance is beautiful, with moments of comedy intertwined with this sad lovers tale. The costumes are stylish, and the set complex and charming (with a few tricks of its own). The music is performed by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and is conducted masterfully by Wolfgang Heinz (Seriously. Watch his conducting, it's super energetic).
Personally I really enjoyed this production of La Sylphide, and you can see the care and precision employed by Stage Director Dinna Bjorn. They had someone who is an expert on La Sylphide from Denmark help to maintain authenticity, and little details show in the way the dancers interact with each other (which is a personal highlight). If you like the ballet, or are interested in exploring, go see the worlds oldest romantic ballet while you can!
La Sylphide is showing at His Majesty’s Theatre from Friday the 17th till June 1st. Tickets start at $25.