The audience knew it was about to witness something special, as soon as the opening chords of the Entr’acte to Act Three of Raymondawere heard. This sparkling rendition by the Opera Australia Orchestra under conductor Nicolette Fraillon set the tone for an evening of high-octane, precision dancing, as David Hallberg unveiled his third program as Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet.

Amber Scott and Ty King-Wall in Raymondaas part of The Australian Ballet’s Counterpointe. Photograph © Daniel Boud

The first part of the evening began with Act Three of Marius Petipa’s Raymonda. A grand spectacle, it was one of Petipa’s last and most successful. The third act is a classic wedding scene, reminiscent of his Sleeping Beauty. However, there are no fairies, Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, or other traits of his ballet-féerie.This is pure dance – a demonstration of technique that demands a Herculean effort on the part of the dancers to maintain unison during some of the torturously slow tempi in Glazunov’s beautiful score. The soloists of The Australian Ballet rise to the challenge brilliantly...