Sleeping Beauty – Petipa Libretto for Tschaikowsky

May 17th, 2006 § 1 |

I haven't been able to find a definitive version of the original Maurius Petipa and Ivan Vsevolozhsky libretto to which Pyotr Tschaikowsky composed the original score. Here is Marinsky Theatre Director's Vsevolozhsky's comment on the origins of the ballet:

I conceived the idea of writing a libretto on La Belle au bois dormant after Perrault’s tale. I want to do the mise-en-scène in the style of Louis XIV. Here the musical imagination can be carried away, and melodies composed in the spirit of Lully, Bach, Rameau, etc., etc. In the last act indispensably necessary is a quadrille of all of Perrault’s tales....

Curiously enough their production of 1890 was the fourth production undertaken on the Perrault libretto.

Here is an abridged version of the Petipa/Vsevolozhsky libretto at Wikipedia.
Here is another version About.com.

If anyone has a copy of the original Petipa/Vsevolozhsky libretto from which Tschaikowsky worked I would be very grateful if they would send it to me that I could reprint it here in my Sleeping Beauty section. I would be happy to link back to another page as well.

Other origins of the Sleeping Beauty story which I haven't been able to track down in their full text is the story of Troïlus and Zellandine from the Romance of Perceforest (the full text doesn't seem to be online in English or French).

There are also hints of a Sleeping Beauty story in the Norse legend of Brynhild in the Volsunga Saga. There is both a sleep preserving the princess from aging and a thorn.

When Brynhild was banished to the earth, to marry as a human, her greatest fear was that she would wed a coward. To protect her against this, Odin placed her in a castle surrounded by a barrier of flames. He then preserved Brynhild's youthful beauty by touching her with a thorn that put her in a deep sleep. Once a man was brave enough to pass through the flame and enter the castle he would remove her armor and fall instantly in love with her. This would cause her to awaken and fall in love with him,   which indeed happened when Sigurd braved the flames.

According to Opera Graz ballet director Darrel Toulon, there is also a Persian version of the story of Sleeping Beauty. It is outside of the European tradition as far as I can see and has no historical relation to the Norse, Perceforest, folk, Battista, Perrault and Grimm versions.

Here is a the full script of the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty. Here are some notes comparing Disney's Sleeping Beauty with the Brother's Grimm and Perrault's version.

Poet Anne Sexton has writtenn an extended lyric on Sleeping Beauty.

§ One Response to “Sleeping Beauty – Petipa Libretto for Tschaikowsky”

  • Hester says:

    Hi — I’m also researching Sleeping Beauty — can you please tell me if you ever found an online version of Perceforest, in French or English?
    Thank you!

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