Live Cinema Season

The Sleeping Beauty (2020)

Recorded | Ballet

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The Sleeping Beauty (2020)

Journey with The Royal Ballet to an enchanted world of princesses, fairy godmothers and magical spells in this landmark production of Petipa’s classic ballet, to Tchaikovsky's glorious music.


The story

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.

On her 16th birthday, Aurora discovers the spindle and pricks her finger. She falls into an enchanted sleep, and the whole palace sleeps with her. One hundred years later, Prince Florimund discovers the palace, hidden deep within a great, dark forest. He wakes Aurora with a kiss.


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.



The Royal Ballet


Marius Petipa

Additional choreography

Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon


Monica Mason and Christopher Newton after Ninette de Valois and Nicholas Sergeyev


Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky

Original designs

Oliver Messel

Additional designs

Peter Farmer

Lighting designer

Mark Jonathan

Performed by
The Royal Ballet


Simon Hewett
Princess Aurora
Fumi Kaneko
Prince Florimund
Federico Bonelli
King Florestan XXIV
Christopher Saunders
His Queen
Elizabeth McGorian
Thomas Whitehead
Kristen McNally
Lilac Fairy
Gina Storm-Jensen
Fairy of the Crystal Fountain
Romany Pajdak
Fairy of the Enchanted Garden
Mayara Magri
Fairy of the Woodland Glade
Claire Calvert
Fairy of the Song Bird
Anna Rose O'Sullivan
Fairy of the Golden Vine
Yuhui Choe
The English Prince
Gary Avis
The French Prince
Nicol Edmonds
The Indian Prince
David Donnelly
The Russian Prince
Tomas Mock
The Countess
Christina Arestis
James Hay
Florestan's Sisters
Paul Kay
The White Cat
Leticia Stock
Princess Florine
Yasmine Naghdi
The Bluebird
Matthew Ball
Red Riding Hood
Romany Pajdak
The Wolf
Nicol Edmonds
Concert Master
Sergey Levitin
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

News and features

To find out more visit the The Sleeping Beauty (2020) production page.