The stage is bathed in blue. On stage, instruments await their players as the 600+ strong leap-year audience files in on the last day of February. And then the lights dim and the sequin-clad, award-winning Daniel Martinez Flamenco Company enter to tune up for Andalucía, a breathtakingly intense flamenco production currently touring the UK. Its composer and Flamenco guitar soloist, Daniel Martinez, is ably accompanied by a chamber orchestra comprising percussion, cello, bass, violin, and euphonium, as well as singers Danielo Olivera and Inma Montero, and Flamenco dancer Gabriela Pouso.

Each piece brims with intensity and echoes one of the eight regions that make up the autonomous community of Andalucía in the South of Spain, the birthplace of flamenco. Granada begins the show, mournful and free, before giving way to the dramatic Huelva. Martinez’ guitar becomes effectively a percussion instrument, with the energy of the music ebbing and flowing as Martinez shows of his considerable virtuoso skills. For Málaga, he changes guitars and astonishes the audience as he fills the packed auditorium with the sound of a single instrument for minutes at a time. His must surely have the most dexterous pinkie in the land! The singers’ voices evoke the strong influence of Al-Andalus, the formerly Muslim-ruled area of the Iberian Peninsula. Almería brings the first half to a close, a twirling dialogue between singer and instrument. There is an audible gasp from the audience when Pouso appears, adding further percussion with her rhythmical flamenco dancing and mesmerising stage presence.

If at all possible, the second half is even more engaging. Jaén resumes the programme with just a male voice and guitar in plaintive intensity, interspersed with lightning-fast riffs – the speed of Martinez’ strumming is dizzying! But it is Sevilla which claims the hearts of the audience, tuneful and perhaps most accessible, with euphonium and violin in joyful harmony and castanets adding an additional wow-effect to the dancing. Even during the instrumental sections, the singers contribute complex clapping and interjections. The remaining pieces (including Cárdoba, the composer’s hometown, and the port city of Cádiz) give way to homages to Latin American influences, as Martinez shyly explains. And then it is done.

One thing is certain: the musicianship and level of skill in this company is so remarkable that we have surely witnessed something precious, something authentic. Without hesitation and as one, the audience rise for a standing ovation. And only then, Martinez finally cracks a smile.