Her dancing partner is Marcus Morelli, who was announced later as the Telstra people’s choice winner for 2019, a well deserved honour.

Drosselmeyer, the magician, demands a commanding presence, which Andrew Killian delivers with elegant panache in a nice contrast to the antics of his mercurial assistant, Francois-Eloi Lavignac.

Towards the end of Act I, the scene changes in a stroke of theatricality which that designer John F. Macfarlane as one of this production’s permanent stars. His costumes are storybook glorious and his sets are mind-bendingly beautiful as they develop.

Act II has always seemed slightly problematical. Although it has the brilliant inclusion of Clara in the action, it removes the usual crowd of admirers and leaves the succession of national dancers – Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, Russian – on their own. To hold the stage, they need to make an impact, theatrically as well as technically.

On opening night, they didn’t. Some slight flaws may be due to end-of-year tiredness and adjusting to a smaller stage. But the inability to add stagecraft lustre to a technically polished performance often leads to marginal disappointment with this company.

Even the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Nutcracker Prince, Amber Scott and Jarryd Madden, lacked the theatrical chemistry to bring the admirable precision of their pas to deux to as thrilling a conclusion as it might have had. Though I should add the audience applause suggested this was a minority opinion.

Until December 18



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