The bewitching and dark fairy-tale is brought to life in Kenneth MacMillan’s exquisite production. Read More >
The English National Ballet invite you to the London Coliseum to fall under the spell of Kenneth MacMillan’s fairy tale classic; The Sleeping Beauty.
The Sleeping Beauty is a ballet in a prologue and three acts, first performed in 1890. It’s tells the story of Princess Aurora. The wicked fairy Carabosse is furious she wasn’t invited to Princess Aurora’s christening. She gives the baby a spindle, saying that one day the Princess will prick her finger on it and die. The Lilac Fairy makes her own christening gift a softening of Carabosse’s curse: Aurora will not die, but will fall into a deep sleep, which only a prince’s kiss will break.
On her 16th birthday, Aurora discovers the spindle and pricks her finger. She falls into an enchanted sleep, and the whole palace sleeps with her. One hundred years later, Prince Florimund discovers the palace, hidden deep within a great, dark forest. He wakes Aurora with a kiss.
In 1888 Ivan Vsevolozhsky, Director of the Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg, had the idea to adapt Charles Perrault‘s tale of The Sleeping Beauty into a ballet. He invited Tchaikovsky to compose the music, knowing that Swan Lake had not been a huge success and that Petipa‘s ballets were not faring well. But Vsevolozhsky – a diplomat who had also served as librettist and costume designer – was a visionary and relished the chance to develop a lavish production of this well-loved story in the style of those staged in the court of Louis XIV.
Tchaikovsky didn’t hesitate in accepting Vsevolozhsky’s invitation. He worked fast and it is thought that he completed the overture, prologue and outlines of acts I and II in less than three weeks. Tchaikovsky finished the ballet score at the end of May 1889, having spent a total of 40 days on it. In a letter to one of his benefactors he wrote: “The subject is so poetic, so inspirational to composition, that I am captivated by it”.
This bewitching and dark fairy-tale is brought to life by the English National Ballet in Kenneth MacMillan’s exquisite production. A visually stunning productions with Peter Farmer’s sumptuous set and elaborate costumes by Nicholas Georgiadas, this gorgeously classical production features Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
This revival coincides with the recent anniversary of MacMillan’s death, and follows the Company’s performances of MacMillan’s masterpiece Song of the Earth in the autumn/winter.
Find out more about the rich variety of West End shows on offer in Theatreland.