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The Sleeping Beauty Marius Petipa / Sir Peter Wright

Jewel in the crown

Duration 3:10

Breaks 2

No fewer than eighteen times over the festive Christmas period, Dutch National Ballet will awaken The Sleeping Beauty with a kiss. More than 125 years after its premiere, the classical fairytale ballet by Marius Petipa to music by Tchaikovsky still forms the touchstone for ballet dancers all over the world.

In short

The Dutch National Ballet is presenting the Russian crown jewel The Sleeping Beauty in the version by Englishman Sir Peter Wright, who has proved himself a master in adapting the great classical ballets throughout his long career. Wright’s The Sleeping Beauty has all the glitter and style that befits a ballet originally intended for the court of the Russian tsar.

The Story

Asleep for a hundred years
The Sleeping Beauty, based on Charles Perrault’s fairytale La Belle au Bois Dormant, tells the story of Princess Aurora, who pricks her finger on a spindle on her sixteenth birthday, as foretold in the curse pronounced by the wicked fairy at her christening. The good fairy, however, manages to avert the death of the princess. Instead, she falls into a deep sleep for a hundred years, to be awoken at last by the kiss of a handsome prince.



Glitter and style

Sir Peter Wright worked on his acclaimed staging of The Sleeping Beauty with designer Philip Prowse, who decked out the fairytale in breathtaking gold. Prowse situated the story at the French court of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The details of the wonderful costumes for The Sleeping Beauty reflect the fashions of the times. The sets exude the grandeur of the court of the Russian tsar, which served as a model for the French court of the Sun King Louis XIV.

In 1981, at its premiere at the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam, Wright’s version of The Sleeping Beauty was received with great acclaim. When the company moved to Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Wright was able to expand his staging of the ensemble sections and achieve an even more amazing effect by using more dancers.



Marius Petipa

Production and staging

Sir Peter Wright

Set and costume design

Philip Prowse

Lighting design

Jan Hofstra


Sir Peter Wright has been extremely important to the development of ballet in England.He is now 90, but for this new series of performances he will come to Amsterdam again (weather permitting) to coach a new generation of dancers. In November 2016, there was a big celebration of Wright’s birthday at The Royal Ballet in London, where he was Associate to the Directors and then Associate Director. Subsequently, from 1977 to 1995, he was Artistic Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet. He developed into a specialist in staging the big classical ballets all over the world. Last year, Wright published his memoires with co-author Paul Arrowsmith: Wrights and Wrongs – my life in dance.




The Sleeping Beauty

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The Sleeping Beauty


Musical accompaniment

Dutch Ballet Orchestra conducted by Boris Gruzin

Dutch Ballet Orchestra
Since its inception in 1965, the orchestra has been proud to accompany its partners, Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. The working method is unique in the Netherlands. Dutch Ballet Orchestra, with Matthew Rowe as principal conductor, consists of a regular core of 45 musicians, supported where necessary by highly qualified guest performers. This gives the orchestra its unique character: flexible, dynamic and high-quality.

Dutch Ballet Orchestra combines music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, and from music education to talent development. The orchestra’s mission is to create an optimal synthesis between music and dance, in order to reach dance-lovers and ballet music enthusiasts, as well as children and youngsters.

The orchestra has received several international awards for its educational projects, including the Young Audiences Music Award in 2016 for Creatures, a collaborative project with dance company ISH.

    Tue 14 Feb De Telegraaf

    ‘Peter Wright’s production of this magical fairytale ballet, sparkles like a timeless jewel’.

    Tue 14 Feb Het Parool

    ‘Dizzying pirouettes, breathtaking pointework and high leaps (..) At the premiere, the audience couldn’t get enough of the sumptuous staging by Peter Wright.’