English National Ballet: Song of The Earth / La Sylphide

The English National Ballet treats audiences to a special double bill, with Song of the Earth (Kenneth Mac Millian) and La Sylphide (Frank Anderson).

MacMillan’s Song of the Earth was inspired by Das Lied von der Erde, Mahler’s song cycle. The production combines choreography, poetry and music to portray life’s fragility and renewal. The show focuses on three main figures: A Man, a Woman and a Messenger. Song of the Earth was first performed in 1965.

  • The Song of the Earth creative team includes:
  • Kenneth MacMillan as choreographer
  • Music by Gustav Mahler
  • Nicholas Georgiadis on design
  • John B. Read on lighting
  • Staging by Grant Coyle

Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde was written in 1909, and was scored for two voices and an orchestra. Several choreographers have attempted to bring Mahler’s work to life, but MacMillan’s version was the greatest success.

La Sylphide follows James on the morning to his wedding to fiancée Effy. James wakes to see a Sylphide by his side. Curiosity turns to obsession, and obsession turns to tragedy. The classic romantic ballet is recreated by Frank Anderson and Eva Kloborg in this production. La Sylphide is accompanied by a captivating score played by the English National Ballet Philharmonic.

The La Sylphide creative team includes:

  • August Bournonville as choreographer
  • Music by Herman Severin Lovenskiold
  • Anne Marie Vessel Schluter as stager and producer
  • Mickael Melbye on design
  • Frank Anderson as stager and producer
  • Eva Kloborg as stager and producer
  • Jorn Melin on lighting

Comprised of two acts, La Sylphide originally had two versions: one by Filippo Taglioni and one by August Bournonville.

Bournonville’s version is the only one to have survived, and is one of the oldest surviving ballets in the world. The show’s cast of characters include:

  • James Ruben, a farmer from Scotland
  • Effy, James’ fiancée
  • The Sylph, a spirit from the forest
  • Old Madge, a sorceress from the village
  • Gurn, James’ friend
  • Effy’s mother
  • Witches
  • Bridesmaids and wedding guests

James’ obsession with the Sylph leads him on a tumultuous path that only ends in tragedy.

The English National Ballet’s Song of the Earth/La Sylphide production will run at the London Coliseum through 13 January. The show runs 2 hours and 50 minutes with two intervals.

Ticket discounts are available for groups of ten or more, students and buyers under the age of 30. Buyers can also get a discount when buying two or more productions at the same time.