Music- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Libretto by Ivan Vsevolozhsky and Marius Petipa, based on the fairy tales of Charles Perrault
Choreography- Marius Petipa
Adapted by Valentin Grishchenko
Costumes designer- Yulia Zhuravlyova
Stage designer- Maksim Ushakov
Light designer- Maksim Kuroshou
Ballet in two acts.
Duration: 2 hours 10 minutes (1 intermission).
Premiere: January 3, 1890,Imperial Mariinsky Theater, Saint Petersburg.
The ballet extravaganza The Sleeping Beauty is a globally recognized ballet masterpiece. Ivan Vsevolozhsky, Director of the Imperial Theaters, had the idea to bring Charles Perrault’s fairy tale to life as a ballet performance. Along with his high powered position, Vsevolozhsky also worked in literature and was a playwright. He started working on the libretto for the new play alongside renowned ballet choreographer Marius Petipa. The authors commissioned Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to create the score. In February 1889, they provided the composer with a detailed plan for the ballet, which included a prologue and three acts. Strikingly, Petipa laid out precisely what sort of music he wanted to hear at each moment of the ballet.
The Sleeping Beauty was a true breakthrough in the field of ballet music of that time. Petipa’s choreography ensured flawless movements in every act, and he made the dances incredibly consistent and elaborate, down to the tiniest nuances. Precisely for this reason, The Sleeping Beauty became something like a textbook of classical dance. After the performance debuted on January 3, 1890, over 50 productions were staged during its first two seasons. The Sleeping Beauty was not only the Mariinsky Theater’s most beautiful performance – it also turned out to be the theater’s most expensive production. Tchaikovsky and Petipa had created a legendary ballet.
The Sleeping Beauty was born in the 19th century, but, since then, it has seen many variations. Seven different versions have been shown in the Bolshoi Theater alone. Precisely The Sleeping Beauty, in the adaptation of Yury Grigorovich, opened the first season of the renovated Bolshoi Theater in 2011. Svetlana Zakharova danced the part of Aurora, and David Hallberg that of Prince Désiré. There are a number of modern renditions of the ballet as well, including those of Matthew Bourne, Nacho Duato, and other respected ballet masters.
The King and his Queen are celebrating the birth of their baby daughter, the Princess Aurora. Catalabutte announces the arrival the fairies of Kindness: Tenderness, Carelessness, Generosity, Playfulness, Audacity and the Lilac Fairy, principal godmother to the Princess Aurora. Each of them bestows the newborn infant with a gift – honesty, grace, prosperity, song and generosity. But the festival is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of the evil fairy Carabosse, who became furious upon learning of the King’s refusal to invite her to the ceremony. The king puts the responsibility on Catalabutte. Carabosse angrily tears his wig off. Her gift to the infant is a curse: at the age of 16, Aurora will prick her finger on a spindle and fall asleep forever. The Lilac fairy, who did not have time to give the Princess a gift, says that the dream will not be eternal — Aurora will be awakened by the kiss of a Prince, charmed by her beauty.
Act 1/Scene 2
There is a celebration in the King Florestan ХIV palace park. Princess Aurora is now sixteen. The King and Queen are happy — the evil fairy’s prediction was not fulfilled. Princess Aurora appears, and four princes are introduced to her, claiming her hand. She’s nice to everyone, dances with every one of them, but she doesn’t give preference to anyone. In the crowd, Aurora notices an old woman. The Princess takes the spindle in her hands and spins with it. Suddenly, after pricking her finger, she loses her strength and falls. The old woman takes off her cloak – this is the evil fairy Carabosse. At the same time, the Lilac Fairy appears – the patroness of Aurora – with a wave of her magic wand she plunges the whole kingdom into an age-old sleep.
Act 2/Scene 1
One hundred years have passed. Prince Désiré and his party are hunting in the forest. When on his own in the forest, he is met by the Lilac Fairy, who shows him a vision of beautiful Aurora, and the Prince is immediately smitten. He asks the Lilac Fairy to take him to the castle, and they set off immediately. They find themselves in the palace, where everything is covered with a thick layer of dust and cobwebs. Désiré awakens the Sleeping Beauty with a kiss. The whole kingdom wakes up with her. Enchanted by the beauty and charm of Princess Aurora, Prince Désiré asks the King and Queen for her hand in marriage.
Aurora and Désiré’s magnificent wedding is being celebrated. The Diamond Fairy, the Sapphire Fairy, the Golden Fairy and the Silver Fairy come to congratulate Aurora and Désiré. The many guests include characters from fairytales. There is Princess Florine and the Bluebird, Puss in Boots and the White Cat, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. The Prince and the Princess get married; the Lilac Fairy blesses their marriage.