Frederick Ashton’s delightful full-length classical ballet is a charming feast for the senses, set to Delibes’ marvellous score.
The shepherd Aminta has fallen for the nymph Sylvia. As a disciple of the goddess Diana, she rejects his advances – until Eros intervenes ...
Sylvia and Aminta defy the jealous hunter Orion’s attempts to take Sylvia for himself. Finally the couple is united, their union blessed by Diana.
Sylvia was Frederick Ashton’s second full-length ballet, created in 1952 as a sparkling showpiece for his muse Margot Fonteyn. Ashton used Delibes’ gorgeous 1876 score – famously beloved by Tchaikovsky, who praised its ‘charm and elegance… its riches in melody, rhythm, harmony’. The ballet fell from the repertory but in 2004 was reconstructed by Christopher Newton for Ashton’s centenary –so rescuing from the archives a seminal work of Ashton’s English style.