SEE the conquering hero come… and let us all pay due homage to the new king of the boards.

Yes, it’s taken 12 long years, but it really does look as if the hour has at last arrived for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s new golden boy Tyrone Singleton.

The departure of the great Robert Parker a while back undoubtedly left a huge gap in the company’s ranks. Indeed, there are many of us who mourn him still.

But that vacuum has unquestionably now been filled by Singleton, who has taken the lead role in this classic work and transformed it into a masterpiece of skilfully blended technique and emotion.

Singleton’s story has been one of relentless hard work and steady progress. I should know – I’ve been following the progress of this guy for quite some time and have no qualms whatsoever in reminding BRB fans where they almost certainly heard it first.

His portrayal of Prince Siegfried was simply stunning. He effortlessly captures all the idealism and burning desire of his character to find the perfect romantic match, distilling these twin ingredients to come up with an individual whose regal fingers are never far from the heart strings.

But there’s more, for his opposite number is the elfin Celine Gittens, whose trademark sharp and precise style injects endless pathos into the dual roles of Odette and Odile. This is truly a partnership of equals.

Nevertheless, Singleton’s love-cursed prince takes a little time to move into top gear. No wonder, though, because he will soon need all his strength to perform those gravity-defying leaps that are also becoming very much his calling card.

Yet this fallow period gives Singleton plenty of scope to shop window his increasingly fine acting skills, every facial expression worth thousands of words as he sips on a goblet of wine and confers with his loyal retainer Benno, played with impressive panache by William Bracewell.

The latter, by the way, also displays some fabulous moves quite early on, giving us all a hint of what is yet to come, as does BRB favourite Elisha Willis (Hungarian Princess) who never fails to charm.

Swan Lake is very much an ensemble-dominated ballet and Peter Wright’s production makes the most of the scenes that we have come to associate with the work. Add to this the alchemy of Tchaikovsky’s immortal score and you have a marriage made in heaven.

And it is all these factors – combined with Philip Prowse’s darkly gothic set and Peter Teigen’s mood-laden lighting – that makes this piece such a vibrant, timeless creation.

But in the end, the night belonged to Tyrone Singleton… and the proof was in the roar of the crowd and the standing ovations as a deliriously happy capacity crowd saluted their man of the moment.

Swan Lake runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Tuesday (October 6). Absolutely unmissable.

John Phillpott