Libretto of the ballet “LA FILLE MAL GARDÉE”  (ballet in two acts)

Composer Ferdinand Hérold. The libretto and staging Jean Dauberval.
The first presentation (with a team of music): Bordeaux, July 1, 1789; music Herold - Paris Grand Opera, November 27, 1828

Marcelina, a prosperous widow.
Lisa, Marcelina’s daughter.
Kolen a poor peasant.
Misho, a rich farmer.
Nicaise, Misho’s son.
Lisa’s friends.
Waltz (peasants)
The village’s peasants.

The greedy widow Marcelina wants to give her daughter in marriage to a foolish boy, Nicaise, who is the rich farmer's son. But Lisa loves the poor peasant, Kolen. Marcelina does not allow her daughter to meet with Kolen since she wants to arrange a marriage with Nicaise.

Act 1
Scene 1 (outside Lisa’s house in the village)

Lisa’s and Kolen’s peasant friends enter. They sympathize with Lisa and Kolen, but can not help.  Marcelina does not take her eyes for a moment from her daughter, forcing her to work at home. Feeding the chickens, sweeping the yard, and other chores.

Scene 2 (in the Field)

The peasants are working and celebrating the harvest.  Among them, Lisa, Kolen, Nicaise, and Marcelina.  A storm is approaching. Gusts of wind pick up Nicaise, who takes off on a huge umbrella. (General laughter from the peasants.)

 Act 2

Scene 3 (Inside Marcelina’s house)

Enter Lisa and Marcellina.  Farmers bring in bundles of wheat and straw that were getting wet from the rain and place them in a corner.  Imperceptibly Kolen crept into Marcelina’s house with the bundles of straw/hay to see Lisa. Then Marcelina leaves the house, locking the door. Lisa resents Marecelina’s precautions of locking her inside the house.

Scene 4

 Lisa day-dreams of her future life, when she gets married to Kolen and they have children. She imagines how she will teach them to read and how she will be an affectionate mother, but, if necessary, will be strict.  Suddenly the bundles of straw/hay separate and tumble, and before Lisa appears Kolen.  Lisa is confused and frightened. But the idea that they can finally be alone, fills them with joy and happiness. They exchange scarves. Lisa and Kolen alone time is short. They hear Marcellina’s steps coming back. What to do? Lisa hides Kolen in her bedroom. Lisa starts dancing and spinning but does it so unnaturally that Marcelina suspects mischief. She find the scarf around Lisa’s neck that Kolen gave her.  Marcelina punishes Lisa by locking her in her bedroom, which is where Kolen is hiding.

Marcelina then waits for the notary to marry Lisa and Nicaise   She respectfully welcomes the notary.  After the notary comes in, Misho, Nicaise, and village peasants arrive for the marriage ceremony.

Just then, Marcelina opens the door to Lisa’s bedroom.  When the door opens, Lisa and Kolen appear in the doorframe, together.

 They throw themselves at the feet of Marcelina, who has no choice but to agree to their marriage.