It’s light, it’s fluffy and it’s fun – a meringue of romance, jealousy and love. But if the story is all a bit silly, it’s still the most lovely night of ballet, in a very traditional but gorgeously done way.

The Merry Widowwas created for The Australian Ballet in 1975 by the company’s then Artistic Director Robert Helpmann, who came up with the scenario based on Franz Lehár’s operetta and brought Ronald Hynd in to choreograph it. The company was in a bit of a financial crisis, but the ballet proved to be a huge success when it opened in Melbourne’s Palais Theatre. It has since gone on to enter the repertoire of ballet companies around the world, with Margot Fonteyn playing Hanna in 1976 when TAB took it to the US. This is the first time the ballet has been seen in Australia since 2011.

Adam Bull, Amber Scott and Andrew Killian, with members of The Australian Ballet. Photograph © Daniel Boud

Opera Australia and West Australian Opera have both recently produced a new version of Lehár’s operetta, directed by Graeme Murphy. The story is the same. Set...