King Florestan and his Queen have invited fairies to be godmothers at the baptism of their daughter Aurora but have omitted to ask the wicked fairy Carabosse, who has taken her revenge by placing a curse on the child: Aurora will pick herself on a sharp object and die. Meanwhile, the Lilac Fairy has somehow mitigated the severity of the curse. Aurora will only fall into a long and coma-like slumber to be awoken by a handsome prince.
The prologue is set in the royal court and begins with the arrival of the guests who have been invited to Aurora's christening. To the sound of the harp the Fairies are introduced by the master of ceremonies and present their gifts. As the Lilac Fairy bends over the cradle, the ominous sound of muffled drums announces the arrival of Carabosse. Her curse rings out in the orchestra but then the harp reasserts itself as the Lilac Fairy mitigates Aurora's birthday. Against much pomp, four princely suitors emerge vying for the Princess's hand. The King is at first furious but soon shows his mercy, leading to the Sleeping Beauty Waltz. Aurora herself takes centre-stage and further merry-making ensues before she suddenly discovers a woman with a spindle which she seizes, pricking herself, before falling lifeless tote ground. The woman was Carabosse who now reveals her true identity. The Princess flee before the entire court gradually falls into a deep slumber.
We are in a wooded place where Prince Desir and his retinue are out hunting. Desir is now of marriageable age, and his tutor proceeds to present the ladies of the court to him. Stately dances ensue; the hunting party withdraws and Desir is left alone to confront the Lilac Fairy. At a wave of her magic wand, she conjures up a vision of the sleeping Aurora. Aurora seems to plead to be set free and, for his turn, Desir longs to free her. He sets off with the Lilac Fairy on his quest by boat, a violin theme evoking his awakening feelings of love. Meanwhile, the music associated with Aurora's world is heard through a veil of mist as the Prince and the Fairy arrive at and penetrate the enchanted castle. The Prince kisses Aurora to a clap of thunder. The spell has instantly been broken; the mists disperse; and the whole court awakes as a new life begins.
Charts the wedding of Prince Desir and Aurora. The bridal pair enter to be greeted by courtiers, followed by guests, including the fairies. Fairy-tale characters offer more salutations, including contributions from Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Tom Thumb. The newly married couple celebrate their happiness, the Prince exulting in a tarantella and Aurora in a graceful polka. The guests gather to perform a sarabande and a lively mazurka draws the festivities to an end.