Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of The Sleeping Beauty. It was last on stage 22 February—9 April 2014 as part of the Spring 2013/14 season.
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
13 February 2015
We've scoured the repertory in search of the most romantic ballets for Valentine's Day.
5 February 2015
These expert dancer-actors are as important to the drama as the leading lady.
24 December 2014
Ballet choreographers have long loved to craft swirling floral patterns for the corps de ballet, set to a waltz's gentle lilt.
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?
The Sleeping Beauty (Russian: Спящая красавица / Spyashchaya krasavitsa) is a ballet in a prologue and three acts, first performed in 1890. The music was composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (his opus 66). The score was completed in 1889, and is the second of his three ballets. The original scenario was conceived by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, and is based on Charles Perrault's La Belle au bois dormant. The choreographer of the original production was Marius Petipa. The premiere performance took place at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1890. The work has become one of the classical repertoire's most famous ballets.