Le Fille Mal Gardée



Act I

Scene 1 – The Farmyard:

Lise, the only daughter of Simone, is in love with Colas, a young farmer. However, her mother, a widow and owner of a prosperous farm, has a more ambitious plan in mind for her daughter.

The dawn of a busy day on the farm is heralded by the rooster and his attendant hens. Lise, disappointed at not seeing Colas, The lovers eventurally meet, but are interrupted by Simone, who sets her daughter a task churning butter. Colas, who is hiding in the loft, joins her. The work is, at first, shared by them but is soon forgotten as they declare their love for each other.

A little later, some farm girls summon Lise to play, but her mind is elsewhere. Her suspicious and ever-watchful mother catches hold of her and chastises her. Just then Thomas, the pompous and wealthy proprietor of a vineyard, arrives with his son Alain. Simone, aware of the purpose of their mission, dismisses Lise. Thomas is there to ask for Lise’s hand in marriage to his son, and when Lise returns, Alain, coy and clumsy, shows off his paces. She is amused and a little shocked by his antics, but definitely not interested. They all set off for the harvest.

Scene 2 – The Field:

After a day working in the fields, the harvesters, led by Colas, relax in a joyful dance. Lise and Alain dance, but Colas intervenes, and Lise makes it clear where her preference lies. One of the harvesters plays the flute to the general merriment of all. Alain decides to take a turn playing the flute, but the harvesters are less than entertained. The field is now left clear for the triumphant Colas, who dances with Lise. Simone joins the merriment and the town’s children celebrate in merrily dancing just as a storm begins and everyone runs to shelter from the rain.

Act II – The Farmyard

Mother and daughter, soaked by the storm, return to the farmhouse yard to dry off. They sit down beside a spinning wheel and begin to spin; work, thinks the mother, should keep Lise out of mischief. But Simone is overcome by sleep. Lise, who has seen Colas through the gate, tries to take the key from her mother. Simone wakes, and in order to remain watchful, plays the tambourine for Lise to dance. But the taps grow feebler, she begins to nod, and soon she is fast asleep. Lise then runs to the gate to sneak Colas in. The knocking of the harvesters, coming for their pay, awakens Simone. Lise quickly hides Colas in the shed. Simone heads off to pay the harvesters. Meanwhile Colas and Lise dream of their marriage and future family. Upon Simone’s return she finds Colas with Lise. After chasing Colas away, the ever-suspicious mother, hustles Lise into the shed, locking the door. Alain and his father now arrive with a notary to complete the marriage contract. Alain refuses to sign the contract. He demands the key to the shed. Colas and Lise ermerge. The lovers beg Simone for a blessing. In spite of the fury of Thomas and Alain, she finally gives in and everyone rejoices in the celebration.