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.
Production sponsored by
Generous philanthropic support from
Julia and Hans Rausing, Sir Lloyd and Lady Dorfman, Kenneth and Susan Green, Melinda and Donald Quintin, Rena and Sandro Lavery and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.
Original production (2006) made possible by
The Linbury Trust, Simon and Virginia Robertson and Marina Hobson OBE.
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.
Company The Royal Ballet
Original designsOliver Messel
Additional designsPeter Farmer
Lighting designerMark Jonathan
There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.