LA SYLPHIDE

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Genres:

  • Dance

People/organisations:

  • Scottish Ballet

Decade:

  • 1970s

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Related biographies

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Overall rating:

Title: LA SYLPHIDE

Reference number: 10919

Date: 1974

Sound: sound

Colour: col

Fiction: fiction

Running time: 64.04 mins

Description: A recording of Scottish Ballet performing La Sylphide as part of their Australian Tour of 1974. A title card at the beginning of the tape confirms Margot Fonteyn and Ivan Nagy in the principal roles of the Sylph and James. Margot Fonteyn was an enthusiastic supporter of Scottish Ballet, and danced in every one of the 46 performances the company gave on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. Ivan Nagy was at the time a premier dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. (Scottish Ballet: Forty Years, p.18)

La Sylphide was one of the first great romantic ballets and set the style of a trend which dominated ballet for almost 100 years. Scottish Ballet’s production was restaged by the world’s foremost authority on Bournonville’s ballets, Hanns Brenaa, of the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen.
The story is set in Scotland where James, on the eve of his wedding, is dreaming of the Sylphide, a spirit of the forest. He awakes to find his dream a reality and the ballet unfolds in a strongly dramatic plot, which moves through spirited highland reels and moonlit glades peopled by sylphs and witches, to a final tragic ending. (Leaflet for La Sylphide, 1974, Scottish Theatre Archive, STA SB 8/23c)

See also ref 11296 for 1979 recording.

The Scottish Theatre Archive holds material relating to this production including:
La Sylphide. New Theatre, Hull, 1974 October. Leaflet. Call number: STA SB 8/23c
La Sylphide. King's Theatre, Edinburgh, 1974 November 12-16. Programme. Call number STA SB 8/25b)

Please note this is a copy of the raw capture of the original analogue video for preservation and as such may display defects such as dropout, washed out colour and sound fluctuation.

Credits: Music: Herman Lovenskjold
Choreography: August Bournonville
Scenario: Adolphe Nourrit
Design: Peter Cazalet
Lighting Molly Friedel

Cast
The Sylph: Margot Fonteyn
James: Ivan Nagy

Shotlist: Act One – James’ Farmhouse (00:55-29:15)
James is asleep by the fire dreaming of a sylph, a spirit of the forest he has seen in the glen. He awakens to see his vision before him but when he pursues the spirit she always evades him. Gurn, manager of the family farm, also loves Effie but she has eyes only for James. Presently friends and neighbours arrive bringing gifts for the young couple. Madge, a witch, enters and James wishes to drive her from the house but Effie persuades him to let the old woman remain to tell fortunes. When Madge foretells that Effie will never be happy with James but only with Gurn, James forces her from the house, and she vows revenge. The Sylph reappears. Visible to Gurn and James alone – she declares her love for the latter but continues to remain elusive. Finally snatching the wedding ring intended for Effie, she flies to the forest with James in pursuit

Act Two – A Glen (30:21-01:02:12)
Scene I – Just before dawn, Madge and her coven are preparing a magic potion with which to impregnate a scarf that will bring about James’ downfall

Scene II – Day breaks and the sylphs of the forest begin their dance in which they are joined by James still in pursuit of the Sylph. Meanwhile the search for him has continued throughout the night. At last Gurn discovers his cousin’s hat but Madge persuades him not to reveal this but instead to urge the others to abandon the search. Madge on his behalf presses his suit for Effie. The witch now turns her attention to James leading him to believe that if he entwines her magic scarf around the Sylph’s shoulders that elusive sprit will be his forever. James places the scarf around the Sylph. Her wings fall off and she dies and is carried away by her sisters. James collapses and Madge exults over his body.

Curtain call: 01:02:29-01:04.01

[Synopsis from STA SB 8/25b]

[Please note on this recording there is damage at 29 mins, cut to Act 2]