Graeme Murphy's Nutcracker - The Story of Clara begins in the heat of an Australian summer, complete with a Hills Hoist, crickets and squabbling kids in bathers. But it's not long before we are transported.
Clara, once a famous Russian ballerina, has settled in Melbourne while on tour with the Ballets Russes. Now nearing the end of her life, she begins to drift back in time, remembering her travels, her travails, her triumphs and her true love.
One of the most beautiful of these dream sequences is the one that takes us back to Clara's childhood. Reunited with her lover, Clara is swept away by a whirling storm of snowflakes. She finds herself back in St Petersburg, where she grew up; her elegant mother gives her a gift - her first pair of pointe shoes - and the snowy streets of the city are thronged with happy families.
Kristian Fredrikson's design brilliantly conjures the snowflakes (a nod to the traditional Nutcracker), the grand vistas of pre-Revolutionary St Petersburg, turn-of-the-century fashions trimmed in creamy fur, and the chill beauties of a far-northern winter.
Artists of The Australian Ballet. Photography by Daniel Boud, Kate Longley, Branco Gaica and Nick Manuell