April, 1 (6 pm), 2 (11 am)
Music By Peter Tchaikovsky
Ballet in 2 acts (with a prologue)
Choreography by Marius Petipa
Libretto by Ivan Vsevolozhsky and Marius Petipa based on Charles Perrault's tales
Staged by VLADIMIR YAKOVLEV
Set Design by ANDREY ZLOBIN (Kiev)
Costume Design by ANNA IPATIEVA (Kiev)
King Florestan the XXIVth declares a grand christening ceremony to be held in honor of the birth of his daughter, Princess Aurora named after the dawn. An entourage of six fairies are invited to the Christening to be godmothers to the child. They are the Candide Fairy, the Coulante Fairy, the Miettes Fairy, the Canari Fairy, the Violente Fairy and—most importantly—the Lilac Fairy, who is the last to arrive (the names of fairies and their gifts vary in productions). As the fairies are happily granting gifts of honesty, grace, prosperity, song and generosity, they are suddenly interrupted by the arrival of the wicked fairy Carabosse, who is furious at the King's failure to invite her to the ceremony. The King and Queen begin to remonstrate, and the Master of Ceremonies, Catallabutte, intervenes to take responsibility, whereupon Carabosse rips off his wig, laughing. With spite and rage, Carabosse declares her curse on Princess Aurora: she will prick her finger on her sixteenth birthday and die. But all is not lost: the Lilac Fairy, fortunately, has not yet granted her gift to the Princess. She acknowledges that Carabosse's power is immense and she cannot completely reverse the curse. However, she declares, though the Princess shall indeed prick her finger, she will not die, but instead sleep for 100 years until she is awakened by the kiss of a prince. Carabosse departs, and the curtain falls as the good fairies surround the cradle.
It is Princess Aurora's sixteenth birthday. Celebrations are already underway: the atmosphere is festive, made complete with a waltz danced by the villagers with garlands. There are women knitting close by: Catallabutte orders them taken away to prison lest their needles precipitate calamity. The king angrily agrees, as he has decreed. After entreaties by the four princes, the women are reprieved amidst rejoicing. Aurora receives her four royal suitors and their gifts of exquisite roses. Soon after, Aurora is presented with a spindle as a gift from a disguised Carabosse—an object which she has never before seen. Carelessly, she dances with it despite her mother and father's warnings before accidentally pricking herself. She faints. To the horror of all, Carabosse immediately reveals her true wicked self triumphantly, vanishing before the princes can vanquish her. The princes and their attendants depart for their native countries in fear. At that very moment, the Lilac Fairy appears as she had promised. She reminds the remaining guests and the King and Queen of her gift—Aurora will not die, but merely sleep. She then casts a spell of slumber upon the entire kingdom so that they will only awake when Aurora does. Carlotta Brianza as Princess Aurora and Pavel Gerdt as Prince Désiré, costumed for the Grand Procession of Act III in Petipa's original production of The Sleeping Beauty.
One hundred years later, Prince Florimund (in the original production, it is Désiré) is at a hunting party with his companions. He is not happy and his hunting party try to cheer him up with a game of blind man's bluff and a series of dances. Still unhappy, he asks to be alone and the hunting party depart. Suddenly, Florimund sees the Lilac Fairy who presents him with a vision of Aurora and he is entranced by her beauty. The Prince pleads with the Lilac Fairy to bring him to see Princess Aurora, to which the latter consents. The Prince discovers the castle, which is now overgrown in thick vines. His first act is to defeat Carabosse. Once past her and inside the castle, the Prince finds Aurora and awakens her with a kiss. The entire kingdom awakes with her. The Prince then declares his love for Aurora and proposes to her. The King and the Queen are happy to give their blessings.
Preparations for the wedding are made. On the day of the festivities, different fairies are invited. These are the fairies to bless the marriage - The Gold Fairy, the Silver Fairy, the Sapphire Fairy and the Diamond Fairy. The Lilac Fairy also makes an appearance. Many fairytale characters, such as Puss in Boots and the White Cat, are also among the guests. A golden chain of dances is held, including a Pas de Quatre for the four precious jewel and metal fairies, a dance for Puss in Boots and the White Cat, a Pas de Deux for the Bluebird and Princess Florine, a dance for Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, a Sarabande (usually omitted), a Pas de Deux for Aurora and Florimund and finally a mazurka. The Prince and the Princess are wed, and the Lilac Fairy blesses their marriage. The ballet ends with an apotheosis (apothéose) where all the characters make a final bow.