In spring 2008, Robert Weiss created a new Sleeping Beauty using the magnificent Tchaikovsky score and the classic choreography of Marius Petipa. It is a grand production with beautifully rich scenery and costumes. The story is one of the best known fairy tales of all time.
At the christening of the baby Princess Aurora all the Fairy Godmothers are gathered to give the Princess their blessings, but somehow the Fairy Carabosse has been left off the list. She arrives with her companion, a Raven, and curses the Princess, saying that on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger on a spindle and die. The Queen and King are distraught, but the Lilac Fairy says that she will temper Carabosse’s curse with her own blessing - the Princess shall not die but fall asleep until a handsome Prince awakens her with a kiss.
The story moves ahead 16 years to the 16th birthday party for Princess Aurora. Once again the family is assembled along with the fairy godmothers. Unbeknownst to the gathering though, the evil Carabosse, having kidnapped Aurora’s nurse, comes to the party disguised as the nurse. She hands a beautiful bouquet of flowers to the Princess, but hidden inside the bouquet is a spindle on which Aurora pricks her finger. Immediately she starts to faint and then the entire palace falls into a deep slumber. Carabosse and her Raven leave in great glee.
The role of the Raven is Weiss’ addition to the Petipa choreography. He allows the role of Carabosse to be expanded into more of a dancing part rather than just a character role, and there is wonderful, evil dancing between them. The other addition to the ballet not in the original Petipa version is a huge dragon that is really a puppet operated by several dancers. Prince Desire must slay the dragon in order to get to the palace, where he finds the Princess Aurora asleep and awakens her with a kiss. All in the Palace and throughout the kingdom, wake up, and there is much rejoicing in the final act at the beautiful wedding ceremony that includes much of Petipa’s famous choreography. They all live happily ever after.