A wicked fairy places a fatal curse on the baby Princess Aurora, which the good Lilac Fairy softens to a sleep of 100 years. Only a prince’s kiss can break the spell.
The Sleeping Beauty holds a special place in The Royal Ballet’s repertory. It was the ballet with which the Company reopened the Royal Opera House in 1946 after World War II, announcing its move from Sadler’s Wells to Covent Garden. Margot Fonteyn danced the role of the beautiful princess Aurora in the first performance, with Robert Helpmann as Prince Florimund. Sixty years later, in 2006, the original 1946 staging was revived, returning Oliver Messel’s wonderful designs and glittering costumes to the stage once again.
Marius Petipa’s classic 19th-century choreography is combined with newly created sections by Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon. The ballet contains many memorable moments, from the iconic Rose Adagio, when Aurora meets her four royal suitors, to the vigorous hunting dances and the famous waltz for Aurora and her Prince. Throughout, Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s score conveys passion and intensity.
News and features
28 July 2014
The Royal Ballet’s newest Principal on training in Perm, the challenges of moving to London as a teenager and why he’s looking forward to flexing his acting muscles.
30 April 2014
See Anthony Dowell rehearsing Yuhui Choe as Aurora in this exclusive Insights event footage.
19 March 2014
What did you think of the live relay of The Royal Ballet's classic?
19 March 2014
Another chance to see the backstage films screened as part of our 2014 live cinema relay.
12 March 2014
Access exclusive articles, photos and films about the production with our Digital Guide.
23 February 2014
A selection of audience tweets from the first night (and matinee) of Petipa's fairytale ballet.