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The Sleeping Beauty

Repertory Archive

The Sleeping Beauty

Ballet in three acts and a prologue

Entire Production Designed by Oliver Messel
Staged by Mary Skeaping
after Marius Petipa and Nicholas Sergeyev
Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
Lighting by Nananne Porcher

World Premiere

June 15, 1976
Metropolitan Opera House
New York, New York

Natalia Makarova (Princess Aurora)
Mikhail Baryshnikov (Prince Florimund)
Martine van Hamel (Lilac Fairy)
Dennis Nahat (Carabosse)
Yoka Morishita (Princess Florine)
Fernando Bujones (The Bluebird)


Prologue: The Christening
All the Fairies and their cavaliers have been invited by King Florestan XXIV and his Queen to be present at the christening of their infant daughter, the Princess Aurora. Only the Wicked Fairy has not been invited, but she arrives, and vows, by way of a christening gift, that one day the Princess shall die from pricking her finger with a spindle. By good luck, the Lilac Fairy still has her own gift to bestow, and she confounds the Wicked Fairy by promising that the Princess shall not die, but instead shall fall into a sleep of one hundred years, from whcih at last she will be awakened by a Prince’s kiss.

Act I: The Spell
It is Princess Aurora’s sixteenth bithday, and four Princes have come to woo her. During the festivities an old woman approaches and shows her something which she has never seen before – a spindle. In examining it she pricks her finger. At her cry the suitors rush to her aid. The old woman throws back her cloak, revealing that she is the Wicked Fairy, and vanishes. Now appears the Lilac Fairy to fulfill her promise. She casts a spell of sleep over the whole scene and commands a forest to grow up that shall utterly conceal the Palace.

Act II: The Vision
Years later, a young Prince Florimund is on a hunting expedition in that same forest. Becoming separated from his companions, he is visited by the Lilac Fairy, who tells him the story of the Sleeping Beauty. She even shows him the Princess in a vision, but as he moves forward it fades. He implores the Lilac Fairy to lead him to where the Princess really sleeps.

Scene 1: The Awakening

Following the Lilac Fairy, Prince Florimund enters the Palace. There sleeps Princess Aurora. He bends over her and awakens her with a kiss.

Scene 2: The Wedding
Every storybook character comes to the wedding of Prince Florimund and Princess Aurora. They pay their respects to the bride and bridegroom, and then the whole assembly joins together in a great dance. Finally, the Lilac Fairy reappears to bless the marriage, and the Prince and Princess may be presumed to live happily ever after.