Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
April 6, 2018

In 1968, a young man fresh out of The Australian Ballet School joined the corps de ballet at The Australian Ballet. His name was Graeme Murphy. He would take his first steps as a choreographer for the company and go on to become one of Australia’s greatest dance-makers, creating works for every artistic director of TAB, as well as founding and running Sydney Dance Company for 31 years.

To celebrate Murphy’s 50-year association with TAB and pay tribute to his genius, Artistic Director David McAllister programmed a mixed bill simply called Murphy to open the 2018 season, featuring extracts from selected works by Murphy in the 90-minute first act, and then his re-imagined version of Firebird in the second.

Since Murphy’s glorious Swan Lake and imaginative, touching “gumnut” Nutcracker – The Story of Clara, are both regularly revived by TAB for whom they were created, it was decided not to include those. And given that many of his most popular works involved large sets or live music by the likes of percussion ensemble Synergy (Synergy with Synergy) or a 10-piece band in the case of Tivoli, there were clearly restrictions as to what...