Tchaikovsky: Aurora's Wedding and Encores
National Philharmonic Orchestra
Swan Lake had such a mixed reception in 1877 that Tchaikovsky was wary of any further excursions into the field of ballet. However, his interest was reawakened when the Director of the Imperial Theatres later proposed The Sleeping Beauty as another full- length dance project. It was to be based on the children's story in which a Princess, cursed by a wicked fairy, falls into a century-long deep sleep, only to be awakened by the kiss of a Prince whom she then marries. Tchaikovsky took to the idea with great enthusiasm and in 1890 the ballet was given its world premiere in St. Petersburg.
The Sleeping Beauty received its first performances outside Russia in a London season staged by Serge Diaghilev during 1921. Despite its artistic success it was a financial failure. Consequently, Diaghilev withdrew the complete ballet and the following year decided to salvage what he could by devising a one-act balletic fantasy from the original production. This he entitled Aurora's Wedding since it consisted mainly of divertissements from Act Three celebrating the marriage of Princess Aurora to Prince Desire.