In the palace of King Florestan XIV the wedding of his daughter, Princess Aurora, is being celebrated. Master of Ceremonies Catalabutte is checking the invitation list. The Lilac Fairy and Good Fairies appear among the courtiers and the guests coming to congratulate the Princess. They bring the newborn infant gifts, endowing her with the finest human attributes. Suddenly, a great noise is heard. The evil and powerful Carabosse Fairy drives into the ballroom with her repulsive suite. They forgot to invite her to the wedding. An irate Carabosse predicts that Aurora will die young from pricking her finger with a knitting spindle. But the Lilac Fairy intervenes: she predicts that the forces of good will neutralize the sinister spell. With a peremptory gesture, she forces Carabosse to leave the palace.
It is Princess Aurora’s sixteenth birthday. Four foreign princes have come to ask for her hand. At the height of the festivities, an old woman with a knitting spindle appears at the Princess’s side. Trustful Aurora takes it and continues to dance. Suddenly, she stops dancing and looks with horror at her finger which she has accidentally pricked with the spindle. Overcome by deadly cold, Aurora falls to the ground. The unknown old woman throws off her hood — it is the Carabosse Fairy! Her curse has come to pass. Whirling around maliciously, she disappears with a cackle. But the Lilac Fairy appears on the scene — she has the power to mitigate the evil spell. Aurora is not dead — she has fallen asleep. She will be brought back to life by the passionate kiss of a handsome Prince. The Lilac Fairy plunges the whole kingdom into a deep sleep.
Surrounded by grandees, Prince Désiré is whiling away the time in the royal park. He is overcome by melancholy. And, as if in answer to his call, the Lilac Fairy appears before him. She summons up a vision of Aurora, surrounded by divine beings — the Nereids. The enchanted Prince hurries after the beautiful image but, at the wave of the Lilac Fairy’s wand, it vanishes. Désiré implores the Lilac Fairy to search for the beautiful maiden. And the Lilac Fairy invites the Prince to sail in her magic craft to the bewitched castle.
Gloom and desolation reign in the sleeping kingdom. It is guarded by the evil Carabosse Fairy. The Lilac Fairy and Prince Désiré rapidly approach the castle. The wicked old woman and her suite try to conceal Aurora but, in vain — the Prince catches sight of the sleeping beauty. Completely won over by her charm, the Prince tenderly kisses the Princess — and the evil spell is broken! Carabosse and her suite vanish. Aurora wakes up and the royal kingdom comes to life too. As soon as the Princess sets eyes on her deliverer, love is born in her heart. Désiré asks the King and Queen for their daughter’s hand in marriage.
Fairy-tale characters have come to Aurora and Désiré’s wedding: Princess Florine and Blue Bird, The White Cat and Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood and The Gray Wolf, Cinderella and Prince Fortuné. The Prince and Princess dance in a harmonious and solemn duet. The Lilac Fairy and her suite bless the happy couple.