The Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s maestro has a cunning plan to untangle the puppet who would be human.

When I catch up with David Robertson, he’s just out of rehearsals. He’s been putting the final touches to the first of his triptych of Stravinsky ballets for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Not The Firebird, as you might suppose, but the third, and some would say the most revolutionary of the three, The Rite of Spring. Robertson will follow up with the ground-breaking Firebird, before finishing with Petrushka, the heartbreaking tale of the simple puppet who wants to be loved.

Nancy Osbaldeston’s Ballerina, Fabian Reimair’s Petrushka for English National Ballet

“There’s a reason I’m putting it last, because I’m a middle child too,” Robertson laughs. “But seriously, when you consider the three of them, the simple version is: romantic – slightly modern – most modern. But I think that irons over many of the more interesting things involved here. For me, The Rite of Springis a seminal watershed – this is the beginning of something new – but it is not actually that far removed from the original version of Firebird....