Costume and set designs for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)

Scope and Content

This series consists of costume and set designs, set model pieces, sketches, costume notes, set designs on paper, board and tracing paper, stage plans and prop lists. Messel revised the production over a number of years, and in many cases it is not possible to know whether a design was produced for the 1946 production or a later revival.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sleeping Beauty (1888), a ballet composed by Tchaikovsky with libretto by Marius Petipa and Ivan Vsevolojsky after the fairy tale by Charles Perrault (1697). Choreography by Marius Petipa. Oliver Messel's production first performed by the Sadlers Wells Ballet at the Royal Opera House, London on 20 February 1946. It was produced by Nicholai Sergeyev and has additional choreography by Frederick Ashton and Ninette de Valois. It featured Margot Fonteyn as Princess Aurora and Robert Helpmann and David Paltenghi as Prince Florimund.

It was also performed on 9 October, 1946 at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. It was revived on 14 September, 1950 at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York and at the Royal Opera House in 1952, 1956, 1958 and 1960. Roger Pinkham said of this production " The Sleeping Beauty was to be Messel's biggest and most enduring production. The production was performed nearly one thousand one hundred and fifty times, from London to Los Angeles, from Leeds to Leningrad, becoming the Company's 'signature ballet'." (Pinkham, ed., 1983).