The theme also provided the scenario for Frederick Ashton’s last full-length ballet, given its premiere by The Royal Ballet in 1958 and set to a score specially commissioned from Hans Werner Henze. Although engaged to Berta, Prince Palemon is unhappy, and when he discovers a mysterious young girl who has emerged from a fountain in his palace he is so smitten by her that they elope and marry. But she is Ondine, a water sprite, and the Lord of the Mediterranean Sea calls up a storm to part her and her new husband. Both rescued, Palemon and Berta marry, but such infidelity to Ondine will prove fatal on the wedding day itself.
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