When to see it
These events are part of the Winter 2016/17 season.
The wicked fairy Carabosse is furious she wasn’t invited to Princess Aurora’s christening. She gives the baby a spindle, saying that one day the Princess will prick her finger on it and die. The Lilac Fairy makes her own christening gift a softening of Carabosse’s curse: Aurora will not die, but will fall into a deep sleep, which only a prince’s kiss will break.
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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, its first production at its new home in 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 by then Director of The Royal Ballet Monica Mason and Christopher Newton, returning Oliver Messel’s wonderful designs and glittering costumes to the stage.
The masterful 19th-century choreography of Marius Petipa is combined with sections created for The Royal Ballet by Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon. Together they create an enchanting sequence of gems in the ballet repertory – from the iconic Rose Adage, when Aurora meets her four royal suitors, and the lilting Garland Waltz to the Vision Pas de deux, as Florimund sees Aurora for the first time, and the celebratory divertissements and final pas de deux that bring the ballet to its glorious close. Throughout, Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s masterful score takes ballet music to a height of passion, sophistication and intensity that arguably has never been surpassed.
News and features
20 February 2017
Akane Takada to dance the role of Princess Aurora, replacing Francesca Hayward.
13 February 2017
We've scoured the repertory in search of the most romantic ballets for Valentine's Day.
7 February 2017
Who are the left-field fairytale characters who dance in the ballet's final act, and what makes their moment in the spotlight so spellbinding?
3 January 2017
The designer worked extensively with The Royal Ballet throughout his career.
28 December 2016
This wonderful classical ballet has a special place in The Royal Ballet’s history, marking a new beginning for the Company in more ways than one.
16 December 2016
Classic ballets feature plenty of code, but what do these gestures mean, and why do they persist in the 21st century?
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 on January 15, 1890. The work has become one of the classical repertoire's most famous ballets.