Premiere “La fille mal gardée” (The Wayward Daughter)

P. Hertel
Premiere "La fille mal gardée" (The Wayward Daughter)
Ballet-vaudeville in 2 acts
120 мinut.

Libretto by Jean Dauberval

Come and witness the much-awaited return of the beloved ballet classics on stage! We cordially invite you to the premiere of the new theatre season, featuring the timeless masterpiece “La fille mal gardée” by Peter Hertel.

“La fille mal gardée” is one of the most beautiful, light and comedic works in the history of ballet. It is the oldest performance in the repertoire of the world’s opera houses, having successfully entertained audiences for over two centuries!
Immerse yourself in the heartfelt love story of Lise and Colas, who, despite the overprotective nature of Lise’s mother, Marcelina, are determined to find a way to be together.

The stage will be filled with playful flirts and comical situations between the mother, daughter and her suitors, infused with good irony and genuine humour. The delightful music of Peter Hertel and the artistry of classical ballet will be the perfect accompaniment.

Don’t miss out on the much-needed moments of joy that “La fille mal gardée” brings. Experience it in all its glory in the new production by Lviv National Opera!

The new production of “La fille mal gardée” features music by Peter Hertel, as well as interlude numbers by Adolphe Adam and Ferdinand Herold.


Serhiy Bondur People’s Artist of Ukraine

Shief conductor

Yurii Bervetskyi Honored artist of Ukraine

Set designer

Tadey Ryndzak People's Artist of Ukraine

Costume designer

Zhanna Maletska

Художник по світлу

Оlexander Mezentsev

Act I

Scene I

A small village in France. The house of the wealthy lady Marcelina. The sun is rising.

Marcelina’s daughter, Lise, has fallen in love with Colas, but their relationship is kept secret due to Marcelina’s disapproval. Before their planned meeting, Lise left a ribbon from her corset on the door of the stable where she fed the chickens the day before, as a sign of her affection towards Colas.

Later, Colas notices the ribbon and realizes his beloved is nearby. The two lovers meet, but their meeting is interrupted by Marcelina, who chases Colas away. To prevent the next meeting, the mother forces Lise to do the housework and keeps a close eye on her. The girl has to clean the yard and whip cream. Colas does not lose hope and tries to meet his beloved.

Lise’s friend come to invite her to the field, but Marcelina is against it, as she is expecting guests. A wealthy burgher, Thomas, appears with his eccentric son Nikez and asks for Lise’s hand in marriage. Thomas offers Marcelina a bag of money. Greedy Marcelina agrees and wants to bless the newlyweds, but Lise runs away to be with her beloved Colas.

Scene II

In the field, the peasants are busy with harvesting, and Colas is among them. Lise rushes to meet them, but does not notice her lover because he is in the crowd. Then suddenly, Colas appears, and the couple reunites. Unfortunately, their happiness is short-lived as Marcelina, Thomas, and Nikez arrive soon after. Colas suggests that Lise hide among the sheaves, but they are eventually discovered. The mother wants to bless Nikez and Lise, but a sudden thunderstorm interrupts the ceremony, and everyone takes shelter from the rain.

Act II

Scene I

Marcelina’s house. When Lise and her mother returned from the field, Marcelina made her daughter spin and closed the door, so she wouldn’t run away. The old lady then started to decorate the wedding veil for her daughter and later fell asleep.

Colas appears. Lise is happy and tells him that her mother locked the door and hid the key in her pocket. The girl tries to get the key, but in vain, so she communicates with her lover through the door.

Outside, a commotion is heard; the peasants brought sheaves and put them in the shock where Colas is hiding. After Marcelina leaves the house to see off the guests, Lisa is alone and dreams of her lover. Suddenly, she became scared because she saw Colas among the sheaves. But it was a happy surprise, and the lovers exchanged their kerchiefs.

Marcelina returns. Lise hides Colas in her room and continues to work. Marcelina becomes suspicious when she sees Colas’ scarf around her daughter’s neck. Thomas and Nikez are due to arrive soon, so the mother locks Lise in the room. She is happy with the thought of a profitable marriage.

Later, the Notary, Thomas, Nikez and the villagers come to formalize the marriage. Marcelina ceremoniously hands Nikez the key to Lise’s room. The door opens. At the entrance are Lisa and Colas, who are asking for a blessing from her mother. Marcelina initially refuses but later agrees, returning Thomas his money.

Scene II

Villagers welcome the wedding party outside the church. Lise tosses her bouquet, caught by Nikez. Thomas returns money to Marcelina money and asks for her hand in marriage. The wedding concludes with a lavish celebration.

About show

The Poorly Guarded Girl or One Step from Bad to Good!

Entertaining French tale where love triumphs!

“La Fille mal gardée” (literally from French: “The Poorly Guarded Girl”) is one of the oldest and most important works in the modern ballet repertory, having been kept alive throughout its long performance history by way of many revivals.  The work has undergone many title changes and has had no fewer than six scores, some of which were adaptations of older music.

The tale of Lise and Colas, two lovers separated by societal divisions but united by their love, embodied the fresh and revolutionary ideals of the Age of Enlightenment, a movement proclaimed by the French Revolution in 1789.  In addition, it was the first to portray the main characters as peasants, depicting their everyday life, emotions and experiences.  The plot of the work clearly shows the vain mother’s caution and that the moral principles of the peasants were superior to those of the nobility.  During that time, depicting such themes on stage was rare and groundbreaking.

The author of the ballet was the French choreographer Jean Dauberval (1742-1806). He was inspired by Pierre-Antoine Baudouin’s painting “Rebuke / A young girl scolded by her mother” (“La rérimande / Une jeune fille querellée par sa mère”). The painting depicts a young girl in tears who is probably being scolded by her mother in a haystack.  In the background, her lover is seen making a hasty escape to the attic.  This storyline captivated Dauberval, who used it as the basis for his ballet.

The ballet was premiered at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux in France in 1789 under the title “The Ballet of Straw, or There is Only One Step from Bad to Good” (“Le ballet de la paille, ou Il n’est qu’un pas du mal au bien”).

As for the musical score, it initially consisted of 55 famous French airs.  The surviving orchestral parts of the 1789 score do not list a composer/arranger, and no contemporary account of the original production mentions a composer.  It is possible that Dauberval himself arranged the score, for he certainly devised the ballet’s scenario and was a competent violinist.  If it was not his work, then it may have been one of the musicians employed by the theatre.

The name “La fille mal gardée” by which the ballet is known to this day, appeared two years later, in 1891, when the work was presented in London Royal Pantheon Theater (destroyed in 1937).  Jean Dauberval also served as the choreographer for that production.

In the future, “La fille mal gardée” would be staged in many opera houses in different productions and with various musical scores.  Various composers, including Ferdinand Hérold, Ludwig Minkus, Cesare Pugni, Leo Delibes, and Riccardo Drigo, have written music for the ballet and interludes.  They often incorporated themes from popular songs or operas into their compositions.

One of such new versions is the ballet of 1828, created by choreographer Jean-Pierre Aumer (1774-1833), a student of Dauberval, especially for Paris Opera and its ballerina Pauline Montessu (1803-1877).

For this revival, the composer Ferdinand Hérold created an adaptation of the original score of 1789, which also contained themes from the operas of Jean-Paul-Égide Martini (1741-1816) and Gaetano Maria Donizetti (1797-1848).

Peter Ludwig Hertel (1817-1899), a German composer known for his dance and ballet music, created the iconic score for “La Fille mal gardée.” The production was choreographed by Paolo Taglioni (1808-1884) for the Königliches Opernhaus in Berlin (now the German State Opera) and premiered in 1864.

The premiere of this production in 1864 had a notable success, and this music is most often performed to this day.

The ballet “La Fille mal gardée” tells the story of a persistent peasant girl named Lise, who rebels against her mother Marcelina’s plans to marry her off to the son of the wealthy Thomas.  After countless tricks, the girl marries Colas, the boy she loves.  Through numerous tricks and schemes, Lise finally manages to marry Colas, the boy she loves.  The ballet immerses the audience in the French countryside of the time, capturing the essence of routine, folk celebrations and traditions.

Over the decades, these characteristic elements of ballet were embodied in various sets, costumes, music and choreography in numerous productions.  An essential component of the ballet has always been the comic situations between the mother and daughter and her suitors.  The character of Marcelina, typically played by men, adds to the comedic effect.

Ballet has been influenced by the vaudeville genre, which translates to “voice of the city” in French.  Vaudeville often centres around the daily lives of ordinary people, celebrating their work, emotions, and more. These same themes are present in “La Fille mal gardée”.

For Lviv National Opera, the ballet “La Fille mal gardée” has been one of the key performances of the repertoire since the mid-20th century.  It was premiered at the theatre back in 1949, led by Yaroslav Voshchak as the conductor, with Mark Zeitlin as the choreographer and Fedir Nirod as the set designer.  The production has been notable, running for over three decades at the theatre.

Another production of the ballet was presented by the theatre company in 1983.  Conductor Ivan Yuziuk, choreographer Herman Isupov and set designer Tadei Ryndzak joined the production.  Yevheniia Kostyliova, Anatolii Kucheruk and Oleh Pospielov played the leading roles in the premiere performances.

The 2023 at Lviv National Opera is the third production of this ballet.  The author of the new choreography was the ballet master, People’s Artist of Ukraine Serhii Bondur, conductor Honoured Artist of Ukraine Yurii Bervetskyi, set designer People’s Artist of Ukraine Tadei Ryndzak, the costume designer Zhanna Maletska, the lighting designer Oleksandr Mezentsev.

The new production of “La Fille mal gardée” features Peter Hertel’s music and interludes composed by Adolf Adan and Ferdinand Herold.

We invite you to enjoy the stunning ambience of a French village, along with charming comedic moments and heartwarming love in the timeless ballet “La Fille mal gardée”.  This beloved ballet performance has captured audiences’ hearts worldwide for over two centuries!

Natalia Mendiuk,


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Daria Berkova

Anastasia Bondar

Olena Mycko

Olha Pylypeіko


Serhiy Aleksandrov

Andriy Havrin

Dmytro Kolomiets

Arsen Marusenko


Viktor Gatselyuk

Artur Kokoev

Andriy Mykhalikha


Viktor Gatselyuk

Bohdan Kluchnyk


Andriy Adonin

Oleg Laska

Kostyantyn Srochko

Volodymyr Sudomliak


Andriy Bilous

Yurij Grigoriev

print*The theater reserves the right to replace performers
print*The theater reserves the right to replace performers