The Sleeping Beauty Synopsis - Boston Ballet

The Sleeping Beauty

Boston Ballet in Marius Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty

Photo credit: Liza Voll

Artists of Boston Ballet in Marius Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty

Photo credit: Liza Voll

Kathleen Breen Combes and Artists of Boston Ballet in Marius Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty

Photo credit: Liza Voll
PROLOGUE: THE CHRISTENING

King Florestan and his Queen have invited the Fairies to the christening of the infant Princess Aurora. Unfortunately, Master of Ceremonies Catalabutte has forgotten to invite the Fairy Carabosse. Nevertheless, she arrives, thoroughly outraged, as the other Fairies are bestowing their magic gifts. She gives a spindle and announces that one day Aurora shall prick her finger with it and die. Luckily, the Lilac Fairy still has her own gift to bestow, and she confounds Carabosse by vowing that Aurora shall not die but will instead fall into a deep sleep, to be awakened after a hundred years by a prince’s kiss. The King bans all spindles from the kingdom.

ACT I: THE SPELL

It is Princess Aurora’s birthday, and four Princes have come to court her. During the festivities, an old woman approaches with something Aurora has never seen—a spindle. In her fascination, Aurora dances with the spindle and pricks her finger. The old woman throws back her cloak, revealing that she is Carabosse and reminds every one of her mortal spell. The Lilac Fairy fulfills her promise to protect the princess. She casts a spell of sleep over the kingdom and commands a forest to grow and conceal the palace.

Lia Cirio and Lasha Khozashvili in Marius Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty

Photo credit: Liza Voll

ACT II: THE VISION

One hundred years later, the young Prince Desire is hunting in this forest with his court. When a stag is sighted, the Prince’s companions join the chase, but Desire remains behind, dreaming of an ideal love. The Lilac Fairy appears and shows him a vision of Aurora; she next summons the vision to dance with Desire. He implores the Lilac Fairy to lead him to Aurora, and the Lilac Fairy takes him on a journey to the overgrown and wooded palace where Aurora sleeps. They encounter Carabosse outside the palace gates and the Lilac Fairy banishes her from the kingdom. Desire finds the Sleeping Beauty and wakes her with a kiss. The magic spell is broken.

ACT III: THE WEDDING

Fairy-tale characters, including Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood come to the wedding celebrations of the Prince and Aurora, and everyone joins in a dance. At the height of the festivities, the Lilac Fairy appears and blesses the marriage.