Sobre el Bns

La Sylphide


March 12th 1832, Paris Opera Ballet, Palais Garnier, Paris, France
Choreography: Filippo Taglioni
Music: Jean Schneitzhöffer
Cast: Marie Taglioni, Joseph Mazilier y Lisa Noblet.
Source: 1, 2

November 18th, 1836, Royal Theater Royal Danish Ballet - Copenhagen


Act I 

The action takes place in Scotland. In the hall of a farmhouse, Effie's groom-to-be James sleeps on a chair. A sylph - graceful winged spirit - gazes lovingly upon him and kisses him. As she comes to life for the first time before his eyes, James, who has many times dreamed of her, chases her but she vanishes through the fireplace. James is left alone and confused. Suddenly he recalls that today is the day when he will marry Effie. The servants begin to make preparations for the wedding. Anne, who is Effie's mother and James' aunt, comes to accompany her daughter, who finds her fiancé pensive and indifferent.

Gurn secretly loves Effie, and seizes the moment to give her a bouquet of wild flowers and say charming words to her. James apologizes to her for his indifference and stands between her and Gurn, who leaves embarrassed. 
The young people of the town come to congratulate the couple and give them presents for their ceremony. At some point, someone realizes that old Madge, the witch of the town, is beside the fire. James tries to send her away, considering her presence as a bad prophecy.


Effie calms James down and he allows Madge to tell the fortune to the town girls and boys. Effie asks her if you she will be happy in her marriage, and Madge tells her that she will be happy… but not with James. She predicts that Effie will marry Gurn, who loves her deeply. James gets furious and takes the witch out of the house, while Effie tells him that she does not believe in these predictions.

Effie leaves with her mother to prepare for the wedding and the other friends also leave. James remains alone again, thoughtful, when the sylph returns, very sad. James asks her about the cause of her sadness and she refuses to respond. Finally, gaining trust, she confesses that she has been in love with him since the first day that she saw him, and that, without him noticing, she has been with him day and night. Touched by the confession of the sylph, James tells her that, much to his regret, he cannot love her back because he is already engaged with Effie. The sylph tries to escape. James wants to catch her. She takes from him the family scarf that Anna had given to her. Gurn, who has returned, sees James jumping strangely without any sense. As only James can see the sylph, Gurn believes that he has become crazy and leaves in search of Effie and her mother.

Act II

At night in the forest, through a thick mist we can barely glimpse at a witches' conjuring of spells chaired by Madge. While they dance, they conjure up on a scarf. The spell has been completed, the fog is dispersed and the witches disappear. The sylph takes James by her hand throughout her idyllic world. As the sun rises, her sisters appear on scene. The forest and the mountains are their domains, where they live away from the eyes of men. She flatters him, trying to please him in all his wishes, and ecstatic, he forgets everything that he has loved so far. At times she is elusive, which baffles him and makes him angry.

The sylphs dance along with her sister, causing a strong impression on James, whose enthusiasm makes him try to embrace this delicate creature again and again. She disappears just at the moment when he thinks that he has managed to catch her. James goes after her in vain. Gurn and his friends arrive at the forest. Gurn finds James' hat.

Simultaneously, Madge appears and steals the hat, frightening poor Gurn. She orders him to remain silent and go up the hill from where Effie and Anna are coming. Madge tells Effie that James has become insane and that her prophecy will become true, as Gurn is predestined to be her husband. Although deeply saddened, Effie accepts Gurn to escort her home. 


James returns with a desperate and saddened heart. With feigned compassion, Madge comes close to him. While he tells her what has happened, he sees the scarf hanging from the witch's girdle. He begs her to give it to him. He believes that with this scarf he will be able to attract the sylph again. The witch pretends that she cannot give it to him, but finally does so. She tells him to believe in its power, and instructs him to wind the scarf about the sylph's arms to make her wings fall off so that he can finally make her his. Grateful, James leaves in search of his beloved. James finds the sylph playing with a bird nest and reproaches her for scaring innocent animals. She repents, feels strongly attracted by the beautiful scarf that he is carrying and that he refuses to give to her.

The sylph begs him for the scarf and promises not to flee any more if he gives it to her. In an attempt to take it, she is trapped by James, who wraps her in the scarf. Her wings fall off and only then he realizes the terrible thing he has done: killing his beloved. Agonizing, the sylph asks him to try to return to Effie, and dies wishing him happiness. James prostrates to her body. The sylph sisters surround her body and take it. Madge enters and rejoices at James' suffering, and responds to his criticism with the cold laughter of revenge. She points to the distance to the place where Effie and Gurn are getting married. Plunged in deep pain, James drops dead.