The Sleeping Beauty

  • Choreographer: Staged by Rosemary Valaire after choreography by Martius Petipa (1979). Later by Marius Petipa (additional choreography and staging by Janek Schergen). Staged and directed by Terrence S. Orr
  • Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Costumes: 1979 sets and costumes designed by Peter Farmer. Later by David Walker. 2023 by Peter Docherty.
  • Lighting: Pat Simmons 1979. Later by Alexander V. Nichols (2000, 2005); Tony Tucci (2009), Alan Forino (1996). Julie Duro (2023)
  • Set Design: David Walker. Peter Docherty (2023)
  • World Premiere: January 15, 1890, Imperial Ballet, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • PBT Performance Date: October 4-7, 1978; Oct, Nov 1996: February 10-13, 2000; February 10-13, 2005; October 16-18, 2009; October 24-26, 2014; May 10-12, 2019; May 19-21, 2023. For performances 1996-2019, scenery, properties, and costumes courtesy of Boston Ballet. For 2023 performance, scenery and costumes courtesy of Charlotte Ballet.

Program Notes

Synopsis (from PBT playbill, 2009)


The court of King Florestan XXIV is celebrating the christening of Princess Aurora.  The courtiers are assembled around her cradle as the festivities begin.  The King and Queen enter, followed by six fairies and their cavaliers.  Each fairy dances, offering her special gift to the infant princess.  Suddenly, before the Lilac Fairy presents her gift, the wicked Fairy Carabosse interrupts the ceremony.  Angry because she was not invited, Carabosse delivers a curse upon the princess.  She will grow up to be beautiful, but before her sixteenth birthday she will prick her finger and die.  The Lilac Fairy intervenes, promising that the princess will not die, but only sleep until she is awakened by the kiss of a prince who loves her.

Act One

It is Princess Aurora’s sixteenth birthday and it seems as though she has triumphed over the evil curse of Carabosse.  Her Father informs her that she is to select one of four visiting princes as her husband.  Aurora dances with the princes, each of whom offers her a rose and declares his love.  As the celebration continues, the disguised Carabosse hands Aurora a bouquet in which a spindle is concealed.  Aurora pricks her finger.  As she falls, the Lilac Fairy appears and casts her spell.  The entire kingdom is put into a slumber to await the prince who will come to break the spell.

Act Two

One hundred years have passed.  Prince Desire and his hunting party stop beside a lake.  As the hunt moves on, the prince is left alone.  To his amazement, the Lilac Fairy appears and conjurs a vision of Aurora.  Enchanted by this vision, he begs the Lilac Fairy to lead him to Aurora.  As they reach the castle, they are confronted by Carabosse, who does battle with the prince.  He overcomes Carabosse with help from the Lilac Fairy.  Once inside the castle, Prince Desire discovers the sleeping princess and awakens her with a kiss, as foretold by the Lilac Fairy.

Act Three

The court is celebrating the wedding of Princess Aurora and Prince Desire.  The Lilac Fairy and all the Fairy Godmothers share in the kingdom’s joy.  Fairy tale characters come to dance at the magnificent celebration.  At the conclusion of the wedding, the King and Queen crown Aurora and her prince as the Monarchs of the kingdom.