Synopsis The Sleeping Beauty

Read the story of The Sleeping Beauty

Prologue: the christening party

King Florestan and his Queen have invited all the Fairies to be present as godmothers at the christening of their daughter, Princess Aurora. The wicked Fairy Carabosse has not been invited because no one has seen her for fifty years. Nevertheless she arrives, mortally insulted, just as the other Fairies are presenting their gifts. Carabosse’s christening gift to Aurora is a curse: one day she will prick her finger on the needle of a spinning wheel and die. Fortunately, the Lilac Fairy has not yet made her wish. She manages to avert disaster by declaring that Aurora shall not die, but only fall into a deep sleep for a hundred years, from which she will be awakened by the kiss of a Prince.

Act one: the spell

Princess Aurora is celebrating her sixteenth birthday. Four princes are courting her. In the midst of the bustling party, Aurora suddenly notices an old woman sitting at a spinning wheel, something which the King has strictly forbidden in his kingdom to prevent Carabosse’s curse coming true. Aurora is so fascinated that the old woman passes her the spindle and she dances with it in her arms. Suddenly she pricks her finger and falls to the ground. The King and Queen are horrified and the old woman is taken away to prison. Carabosse appears triumphant, rejoicing that her curse has been fulfilled. But just as she is about to disappear, the Lilac Fairy arrives to fulfil her promise. She puts the entire court to sleep with a magic spell and, at a given sign, the palace is enshrouded by the forest.

Act two: the vision

A hundred years later, Prince Florimund is holding a hunting party in the same forest. He instructs his courtiers to carry on the hunt while he remains behind alone, dreaming of an idealised image of romantic love. Suddenly the Lilac Fairy appears. She conjures up a vision of the Sleeping Beauty for him and bids this vision dance with the Prince. As the vision disappears, the Prince implores the Lilac Fairy to help him to find the Sleeping Beauty. The Lilac Fairy leads him through the forest to the overgrown palace where Aurora is still slumbering. He enters the building and awakens Aurora with a kiss.

Act three: the wedding feast

Fairy-tale characters arrive at the wedding feast of Florimund and Aurora. They pay their respects to the bride and groom and then the whole assembly joins together in a great feast of dance. At the grand finale, the Lilac Fairy appears once more to bless the marriage.

  • The Sleeping Beauty will be performed by Dutch National Ballet from 12 October 2022 to 2 January 2023.