After many years of childlessness, a girl is born to the king and queen. For the christening of their daughter they hold a brilliant celebration. Among the invited guests are six fairies, who bring gifts and good wishes for the princess. The little companions of the fairies give Aurora small rose bushes. Suddenly the sky darkens and amidst thunder and lightning the fairy Carabosse appears. Catalabutte, the master of ceremonies, looks at the list of invited guests and sees with horror that he has forgotten to invite her. Full of anger at this disrespect, Carabosse curses the child instead of giving her good wishes. Carabosse predicts that, on her sixteenth birthday, the princess will prick her finger on a spindle and die. The dismay of the King and Queen and the other guests is mitigated by the Lilac Fairy, who counters the curse of the angry fairy: After the prick of the spindle Aurora will fall into a hundred-year sleep, from which she will be awakened by the kiss of a young prince.
As the years pass, Aurora grows up, protected and accompanied by the blessing of the Lilac Fairy. Carabosse, however, never lets the little princess out of her sight patiently waiting for her curse to come true.
Four princes come to Aurora's sixteenth birthday party to court the young princess. The rose bushes that she received at her christening have meanwhile become stately hedges. A gift from the fairy Carabosse arouses her special interest: a bouquet of roses. She does not suspect that the evil fairy has hidden a spindle in it. Before she knows it, she pricks her finger, and Carabosse rejoices at the fulfillment of her curse: The princess falls to the ground apparently dead. But the Lilac Fairy transforms death into a deep slumber and everything in the castle falls asleep with the princess. A high hedge of thorns grows around the castle and the garden. The Lilac Fairy extends her blessing over the sleeping court and protects it.
100 years later: Hunting scene, Prince Desirè's vision and Aurora's awakening
Prince Desiré is hunting with a large entourage. When the hunting party is some distance away, the Lilac Fairy appears to him. She shows him a vision of Princess Aurora, whose image instantly enchants his heart. The Lilac Fairy makes it clear to the prince that his luck is not far away – and leads him to the sleeping young girl. Carabosse tries to stop the prince but with the assistance of the Lilac Fairy Desiré succeeds in outwitting her. Captivated by the princess’ charm he embraces her and awakens her with a kiss. This kiss and the emotion of the two lovers is the most powerful force against the malice of Carabosse. The court awakens from the hundred-year sleep.
The wedding of Princess Aurora with Prince Desiré is celebrated as a glamorous costume party and every member of the court is disguised as a fairy tale character. At the height of the feast, Aurora and Prince Desiré dance a great Pas de deux. The Lilac Fairy gives her blessing to the union of the two lovers. Lurking at a distance, Carabosse watches them enviously. The evil continues to exist.