Synopsis by Nathan Southern
The Danish Royal Ballet mounted composer August Bournonville's infamous 1836 ballet La Sylphide - the oldest of his works still extant - with a cast that includes Lis Jeppesen in the title role, Nikolaj Hübbe as James, Sorella Englund as Madge and Kirsten Simone as Anna, and featuring choreography by August Bournonville; that production is now available in this home release. The work's (by-now-familiar) tragic fantasy-romance involves the plight of James, a Scottish farmer and husband-to-be who is entranced - on the night before his wedding - by a "Sylphide," or forest fairy. Over the course of the following day, the creature appears at various points to dance seductively before James, thus interrupting his wedding; when she steals James's wedding band, he ultimately chases her into the forest, jilting his bride, Effy, at the altar. He has clearly fallen in love with the creature, but tragedy shows its face when James places on the Sylphide's shoulders a scarf cursed by Madge, the forest witch. The Sylphide's wings fall off, she dies, and James's best friend, Gurn, marries Effy.