Based on: Charles Perrault's "La Belle au bois dormant"
The Sleeping Beauty Plot & Roles
*Classical ballets have evolved over time, lending themselves to different interpretations as choreographers and directors create works that reflect their visions of the story. The following is intended to provide general information; for details on different versions, click on each of the The Sleeping Beauty performances below.
PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS IN THE SLEEPING BEAUTY (in alphabetical order)
Carabosse: An evil fairy, antagonist to Lilac Fairy
King Florestan: Father to Aurora
Lilac Fairy: A good fairy
Prince Désiré: Aurora’s true love
Princess Aurora: Daughter to the King and Queen
Queen: Wife of King Florestan, Mother to Aurora
THE SLEEPING BEAUTY SYNOPSIS
⊙ PROLOGUE: THE CHRISTENING
King Florestan and his Queen have a christening ceremony for their first child, Princess Aurora. Invited are fairies – led by the most powerful Lilac Fairy – who bestow gifts upon the child such as beauty, dance, song, courage, grace, and kindness. Carabosse, an evil fairy, never receives an invite and in her rage curses the baby. She claims that on Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, the girl will die from a prick of her finger on a spindle. The Lilac Fairy – although unable to reverse the curse completely – alters it to say that indeed Aurora will prick her finger on a spindle, but she will not die; rather she will fall into a 100-year slumber, only to be woken by the kiss of a prince.
⊙ ACT I: THE SPELL
Sixteen years later, a party is thrown to celebrate Aurora’s birthday. Four suitors have been invited to win her hand in marriage and the quintet dance the famous Rose Adagio. During the festivities, a cloaked figure enters bearing a spindle. Recalling the curse placed on their daughter years ago, the King and Queen are cautious and attempt to intercept Aurora’s curiosity. This is to no avail. The young girl pricks her finger on the spindle and Carabosse – unknowing of the Lilac Fairy’s counter spell – believes that she has succeeded in killing Aurora. Upon the evil fairy leaving the party, Lilac Fairy reminds the family and guests of the Princess’s true state, that she is merely in a long slumber.
The good fairy also places the entire village under a spell of slumber; they are only to awaken when Aurora does.
⊙ ACT II: THE VISION
A century later, Prince Désiré is on a hunting party with some friends in the same forest where Aurora lies. In a moment of solitude Lilac Fairy appears, tells him the Princess’ story, and asks if he will be the one to kiss her. Smitten by the vision of beauty, he immediately agrees.
Upon kissing Aurora, the entire court also awakens. The King and Queen approve of Prince Désiré’s proposal to marry their daughter; Aurora accepts.
⊙ ACT III: THE WEDDING
The royal wedding takes place, blessed by the Lilac Fairy. Guests in attendance include the Jewel Fairies and fairy tale characters.
★ INTERESTING FACT ★ Irrelevant to the plot of THE SLEEPING BEAUTY, the third act of the ballet – Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré’s wedding – includes a series of divertissement based on characters of Charles Perrault’s other stories. They include Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, and Bluebird. The latter, along with his partner Princess Florine, are often considered featured roles in the ballet although they in no way serve the story.