Leanne Benjamin & Errol Pickford in the Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty
[Excerpt taken from dance.about.com] As the ballet begins, baby Princess Aurora is being christened. A wicked fairy, Carabosse, storms in and curses the baby, as her invitation to the event had been overlooked. The curse states that on her 18th birthday, the princess will prick her finger and die. However, the Lilac Fairy weakens the curse. She proclaims that instead of dying, Princess Aurora will fall into a deep sleep for 100 years. She will then be awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince.
During Aurora's 16th birthday party, a mysterious guest (Carabosse) offers her a gift...a lovely spindle. Aurora pricks her finger and the whole court falls into a deep sleep.
Several years later, the Lilac Fairy produces a vision of Aurora which Prince Desire notices while hunting. The Prince is led to the castle, where he battles the wicked fairy, Carabosse. After the battle, he kisses the sleeping princess, upon which everyone wakes up. A beautiful and joyous wedding ceremony follows.
Photo: Carlotta Brianza and Paul Gerdt in the 1890 production of the Sleeping Beauty by the Mariinsky Theatre
Sleeping Beauty Trivia
- Music composed by Tchaikovsky, and choreographed by Marius Petipa2
- The premiere performance took place at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1890. The work is widely regarded as Tchaikovsky's finest ballet score, and has become one of the classical repertoire's most famous ballets.2
- Tchaikovsky's three ballet scores include Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.2
- Sleeping Beauty, or La Belle au Bois Dormant, is based upon the classic fairy tale from 1697 by Charles Perrault, Contes de ma Mère l'Oye ("Tales of Mother Goose")2
- Aurora is one of the greatest and most challenging female roles, as it demands tremendous athletic ability as well as extremely clean technique.1
- At the wedding, many other fairytale characters appear as wedding guests - Puss in Boots, the White Cat, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, and even Cinderella.2