You could style it melting passion, if this didn’t appear an unnecessarily callous way of alluding to the death of the title character – her heart literally turned to water in the sunshine – in Tchaikovsky’s ballet Snow Maiden.

In truth, this is not a ballet from the great Russian composer at all; rather it is a composite work from many hands, making clever use of his music.

Some of it is the incidental music he supplied for Alexander Ostrovsky’s 1873 play based on the Russian folk tale. Other parts of the score come from such famous works as his Serenade for Strings and the 1812 Overture.

No wonder the tunes sounded familiar to members of the audience at the New Theatre on Monday night, as they were delivered by the Russian State Ballet Orchestra, under Anatoliy Chepurmoy.

The ballet itself was for many not familiar, and certainly not in the popularity league of The Nutcracker, which followed from the Russian State Ballet of Siberia.

This doubtless explains the disappointingly modest size of the audience at a performance richly deserving of greater support.

With choreography derived from the great Marius Petipa and the company’s artistic director Sergei Bobrov, the production’s artistic perfection was never going to be in doubt.

The technical artistry of the dancers was matched in impressive fashion by acting skills across the board.

This was especially the case with Ekaterina Bulgutova’s Snow Maiden. Fragile and willow-wand thin, she perfectly caught the youthful impetuosity of a girl tempted from the icy court of her father (Alexander Kuimov) and her friends the Snowflakes to the roistering revels of the village folk beyond the woods.

Here she encounters first the handsome shepherd Lel (Yury Kudryavtsev) and next the visiting merchant Mizgir (Georgiy Bolsunovskiy, on mighty form) who is instantly smitten by her.

This occurs despite his marital pledge to the village girl Kupava (Anna Fedosova). Able eventually to reciprocate his love – illustrated in a stunning pas de deux – the Maiden, alas, experiences her fatal exposure to sunshine and a marvellously managed demise. 4/5