La Sylphide

La Sylphide, for Maggiodanza choreography by Auguste Bournonville. When the first version of La Sylphide premiered in Paris in 1832, its audiences were spellbound by its special effects, by the strange, ghostly sprites that peopled its forests and flew across the stage with supernatural grace. But when August Bournonville reinterpreted the choreography to a new score by Herman Lovensiold in Copenhagen in 1836, he highlighted the personal drama of the young farmer James who is lured away from earthly happiness on his wedding day.

For modern audiences it is this tension between wedded bliss and elemental freedom, between the known and the unknown, the familiar and the strange that still gives this historic piece its contemporary meaning. The magic is all very well, but what keeps you watching is the certain knowledge that James is rushing to his fate in pursuit of a dream. Teatro Comunale, tel. 05527791, www.maggiofiorentino.it.