Tchaikovsky wrote the music for three full length ballets. The first of these, commissioned by the Imperial Theatres in Moscow, was Swan Lake, first staged at the Bolshoy Theatre in March 1877. The last of the three, Nutcracker, a work about which the composer had his usual doubts, was mounted at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in December 1892. About the second of the ballet-scores commissioned there could be no doubts at all. The Sleeping Beauty, based on the Perrault fairy-tale La belle au bois dormant, had a libretto in which Marius Petipa had a hand, together with Ivan Vsevolozhsky, Director of the Russian Imperial Theatres. The score was written in 1888 and 1889 and staged at the Mariinsky Theatre in January 1890 at an alleged cost of 80,000 roubles. Choreography was by Petipa, who was largely responsible for the achievements of Russian ballet in the second half of the nineteenth century, with costumes by Vsevolozhsky and sets designed by a number of i artists. The Italian dancer Carlotta Brianza danced Aurore, with Pavel Gerdt as her prince. Cecchetti, second ballet-master and later ballet-master for Dyagilev’s company, danced Carabosse and the Blue Bird, and Petipa’s daughter Maria the Lilac Fairy. The Tsar, who attended the dress rehearsal, found the work very charming, damning it with faint praise and treating the composer with distant hauteur. The Sleeping Beauty, with its splendidly choreographed variations and superb music, was subsequently to be regarded as the greatest achievement of Russian ballet in the nineteenth century.