The Sleeping Beauty / Dornröschen

Balletprologue, three acts
SceneryBarry Kay
CostumesBarry Kay
Other assignmentsProperties / Special Effects
ChoreographyKenneth MacMillan (after Marius Petipa)
MusicPytor Illych Tchaikovsky
PlotBased on the eponymous fairy tale
World Première8 October 1967
CompanyBallet of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
VenueDeutsche Oper Berlin, Berliner Festwochen, Charlottenburg
DirectionKenneth MacMillan
ConductorAshley Lawrence
OrchestraOrchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
LightingWilli Rosumek
CharacterCast in order of appearance
King FlorestanGert Heruth
QueenLilo Herbeth
Princess AuroraLynn Seymour
Prince FlorimundRudolf Holz
Good FairyVergie Derman
CarabosseGerhard Bohner
Crystal FairyGloria Bärwald
Garden FairyHannelore Peters
Fairy of the ForestDorothea Binner
Bird FairyMarion Cito
Vine FairySilvia Kesselheim
CattalabuttaHans Dillmann
PrincesKlaus Beelitz, Gert Schulze, Kurt Wrentschur & Edward Cyré
CountessKatia Dubois
Jewel FairiesHannelore Peters, Marion Cito, Dorothea Binner, Drita Krüzin, Angela Schmidt & Gloria Bärwald
BluebirdsSilvia Kesselheim & Falco Kapuste
Siames CatsMonika Radamm & Hans Werner Botzenhard
MazurkaKatia Dubois & Gert Schulze
Additional rolesGentlemen, Girl Friends, Nymphs & Companions of the Good Fairy: Ballet Ensemble of the Deutsche Oper

Prologue – Princess Aurora’s birth celebrations
photo Ilse Buhs

Act I – Princess Auarora’s 16th birthday ball


Act II, scene 1 – winter scene, the vision
photos Heinz Köstler

Act III – wedding of Prince Florimund & Princess Aurora


Internationally, dance critics raved about The Sleeping Beauty and acclaimed it in superlatives. Considered a milestones in ballet history and ballet design, the production is well-remembered many years past its première, as the following comments attest:

In his testimonial about Barry Kay, Clement Crisp, Financial Times, wrote in 1985: “The stature of his talent was, I think, fully revealed in The Sleeping Beauty which he designed for Kenneth MacMillan’s Berlin staging in 1967.”

In 1987, Jack Anderson, The New York Times, commented: Sir Kenneth’s production of the “The Sleeping Beauty for the Ballet of the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1967 … was visually unconventional. He and his designer, Barry Kay, set the action in Russia and had the heroine awake from her sleep in Tchaikovsky’s era.”

In 2006, Klaus Geitel, Berliner Morgenpost, referred to the production as “a dream”.

In a 2006 article entitled ‘Choreographic Crown Jewels’, the dance critic Horst Koegler writes: “The 1967 staging of MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty was arguably the most magical of all ballet presentations in Germany since World War II, an exceptional staging of enduring memory that attained a character all of its own through Barry Kay’s décor of a winter’s tale, that transplants the work from its French-Russian ambience directly into the heart of the Russian Empire, the Kremlin in Moscow.”