Michael Keegan-Dolan’s haunting Swan Lake set in the bleak Irish Midlands has a short season at the Opera House.

Irish director and choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan has established an international reputation for transforming old ballets into something new. In his reimagining of Giselle, which played at the 2010 Sydney Festival, Giselle was an Irish line-dancing teacher, for instance. His contemporary Romeo and Julietfeatured suburban neighbours from hell.

So, anyone familiar with his work will know not to expect white tutus and Tchaikovsky in his reimagining of Swan Lake – Loch na hEala, which has four performances at the Sydney Opera House from August 30 after a critically acclaimed season at London’s Sadler’s Wells in December 2016 and sold out performances around Europe.

Reviews from the UK were wildly enthusiastic, many awarding it five stars. The Financial Timessaid that it “rolls drama, dance and music together to create a haunted and haunting piece.” The Irish Timescalled it “raw, raucous, redemptive, majestic, vital and empowering”, The Independentthought it “utterly original, utterly beautiful”, while The Observercalled it “a thing of wonder”.

Like many of his productions, Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake/Loch na hEalais set in...