THIS sumptuous feast of a celebration marking director David Bintley’s anniversary year was much more than a glorious party… it was also a glittering showcase for dancers quite obviously at the top of their game.

Everything about this ballet was perfectly placed. Leo Delibes’ immortal music was given fresh impetus by Koen Kessels’ masterly conducting of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Sue Blane’s sweepingly dramatic designs commanded the stage… but the cherry on this particular cake was undisputedly our lord of the dance’s ever-inventive choreography, a life force all of its own.

And didn’t those dancers rise to the occasion, as if collectively realising that this was fated to be a night to remember. For there was a definite buzz filling the entire auditorium on this warm June night, infecting performers and audience alike.

How we marvelled at Tyrone Singleton’s transformation from philanthropic but philandering Count Guiccioli into the fearsome man-beast Orion, emerging from his rocky fastness like a cross between the Wild Man of Borneo and the Incredible Hulk.

It was a deliciously classic early 1930s black and white Tarzan film moment, one of which the late Johnny Weissmuller would most surely have been proud.

Orion’s victim is the hapless Sylvia, played with agonising fragility by Momoko Hirata. Singleton ate up his part with relish, metaphorically casting away the bones with a ferocity that found its counterpoint in the heart-breaking sensitivity that Hirata brought to her character.

There is no doubt that Tyrone Singleton is fast becoming one of the company’s all-time great character dancers. It’s always a pleasure to see his name on the cast list at a Birmingham Royal Ballet performance and his growing prowess is undoubtedly the reason why he is being chosen for parts that truly allow him to spread his wings.

In this production, Bintley wisely paired him with Celine Gittens, another great BRB favourite. She doubles as the casually betrayed Contessa and also as the goddess Diana, but it is in the latter role that this vixen of the boards really comes into her own, bristling with all the balletic weaponry for which she is renowned.

All this and more... because that was only part of the story, the tantalising slow-burn of Joseph Caley as Amynta destined soon to erupt into a conflagration that would soon consume the entire stage.

His pas de deux with Momoko Hirata would prove to be yet another one of those unforgettable and gloriously enjoyable sequences that kept this ballet’s momentum going.

This was Bintley planning his strategy like a general on the battlefield, ensuring that good troops were kept in reserve and that all the best shots were not fired too prematurely.

Meanwhile, keeping a close watch on the fortunes of the mere humans was wise old Eros, played with endless benevolence and patience by Mathias Dingman, the world-weary but kindly god who never let the lovebirds out of his sight for a single moment.

He was also the elderly gardener of this mortal plot, a job befitting one whose responsibility was the eternal nurturing and tending to of souls.

Sylvia runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday (June 27). It’s an absolute must-see experience.

John Phillpott