Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty
Photos of a Sleeping Beauty Like No Other

British choreographer Matthew Bourne has created a Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that drips with candle wax and vampire blood and opens its eyes to modern times. Learn more about his bold re-imagining of the Tchaikovsky ballet and enjoy this photo gallery that captures the drama of the production, premiering Friday, April 25 at 9 pm on PBS (check local listings).

A fairy visits baby Aurora in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

A fairy visits baby Aurora in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

The fairies in Bourne’s ballet are wild, gothic supernatural creatures. As godparents, Ardor, Hiberna, Autumnus, Feral and Tantrum present gifts to Aurora, followed by Count Lilac, the King of the Fairies, and leave a protective ring of candles around the baby’s bassinet.

A fairy performs for baby Aurora in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

A fairy performs for baby Aurora in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

Dancer Adam Maskell performs two roles: the sinister fairy Carabosse and her avenging vampire son, Caradoc. Carabosse casts a death curse upon Aurora, but Count Lilac transforms it to a spell of endless sleep that be broken by a kiss of true love. Thus the dark tale is offset by a love story for Princess Aurora and her childhood friend, the gardener Leo.

The dark fairy Carabosse (Adam Maskell) and Count Lilac, The King of the Fairies (Christopher Marney) in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand

The dark fairy Carabosse (Adam Maskell) and Count Lilac, The King of the Fairies (Christopher Marney) in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty battle for Aurora. Photo by Simon Annand

Act II takes us to 1911 and an Edwardian summer garden party, where aristocrats and a charming but sinister Caradoc compete for Aurora’s attention.

Garden party in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

Garden party in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

Hannah Vassallo as Aurora and Dominic North as Leo in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

Hannah Vassallo as Aurora and Dominic North as Leo in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

When Aurora pricks her finger on the cursed dark rose, she joins the world of the Sleepwalkers. Her love, Leo, is accused of carelessly letting her hurt herself on one of his roses.

Aurora and the cursed rose from the dark fairy Carabosse in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

Aurora and the cursed rose from the dark fairy Carabosse in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

Caradoc and Aurora in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

Caradoc and Aurora in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

Bourne has cited True Blood, the vampire-themed television show, as his inspiration for this ballet, which spans from 1890 to contemporary times. Count Lilac, a vampire fairy, takes pity on Leo and sets his fangs on him to grant him the gift of eternal life, so that he can be reunited with Aurora in 100 years.

A vampire bites the gardener Leo, which enables Leo to wait 100 years for Aurora to awaken in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

A vampire bites the gardener Leo, which enables Leo to wait 100 years for Aurora to awaken in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

Aurora (Hannah Vassallo) sleepwalks in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

Aurora (Hannah Vassallo) sleepwalks in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

Aurora awakens from her spell to reunite with Leo, who also is still alive after 100 years, in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

Aurora awakens from her spell to reunite with Leo, who also is still alive after 100 years, in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

In Act III, set in 2011, Leo is able to awaken Aurora with a kiss, but she is swept away and forced to prepare for a wedding with Caradoc, who is still plotting her death. Guests arrive for the wedding wearing gothic fairy costumes and fake wings.

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Simon Annand.

As the wedding party builds to a climax, a cloaked figure with giant black wings enters. When the cloak is removed, Caradoc is revealed showing his true nature and carrying a sacrificial knife. Aurora lies down in front of him, as if in a trance. As Caradoc raises the knife, Count Lilac and the Fairies attack him.

Caradoc seeks to fulfill the curse his mother Carabosse set upon Aurora in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

Caradoc seeks to fulfill the curse his mother Carabosse set upon Aurora in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

Right: Caradoc (Adam Maskell) in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

Count Lilac (Christopher Marney) must stop Caradoc (Adam Maskell) from killing Aurora in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

Leo at last fully revives Aurora with another kiss on the lips. She wakes, in the arms of the man she has loved for 100 years.

Aurora and Leo reunited in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

Aurora and Leo reunited in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikah Smillie.

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