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Julia Jones


  • conductor Julia Jones successfully led the Staatskapelle in a truly pleasurable Mozartian experience, combining dramatic drive with beauty
    Joachim Lange, Freie Presse
  • Under Julia Jones’s baton the orchestral playing was immaculate
    Horst Koegler, Opera
  • [Julia Jones’s] sheer skill in pacing and in sustaining long, energised lines of orchestral playing stepped up the momentum.
    Hilary Finch, The Times
  • Julia Jones led a remarkable performance, notable for the sharp profile of the ensembles, the effectiveness of her tempo judgments and the lucid warmth of tone she drew from the orchestra
    George Hall, The Guardian
  • Julia Jones’s attention to the emotional detail of Verdi's score achieved a searing intensity
    Rian Evans, The Guardian
  • The English conductor Julia Jones performs regularly at many of the major European opera houses as well as appearing with a wide range of orchestras on the concert podium. Recent successes include concerts with the Tonkünstler Orchestra of Austria as well as Aida at the Macerata Opera Festival, Fidelio and Die Fledermaus at the Vienna Volksoper,  Idomeneo and Die Zauberflöte at the Semperoper Dresden, and a new production of Bluebeard’s Castle at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux.

    From 1998 – 2002 Julia was Music Director at the Basel Opera where she conducted acclaimed productions of Otello, Lohengrin, Un Ballo in Maschera and Eugene Onegin among others. More recently, she was Principal Conductor of the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon and of the Portuguese National Symphony Orchestra (2008 – 2011).  Here she conducted operas such as Fidelio, Carmen, Salome and Katya Kabanova, as well as a large and varied symphonic repertoire.

    In recent years Julia Jones has appeared as a guest conductor at the Staatsoper Berlin (Otello, Aida, La Traviata, Le Nozze di Figaro), at the Wiener Staatsoper (Die Zauberflöte, La Bohème, Così fan tutte), the Hamburg Staatsoper (Macbeth, Idomeneo, Otello), the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Così fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte), at Welsh National Opera (La Traviata), the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux (Madama Butterfly, Otello), and at the Vienna Volksoper (Don Giovanni, La Traviata, The Adventures of Mr. Broucek, Carmen).  She is a regular guest at Oper Frankfurt, where new productions include Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Le Nozze di Figaro, La Damnation de Faust, Idomeneo, and Così fan tutte, and has also appeared at the Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg (Der fliegende Holländer, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as well as at the Salzburg Festival (Die Entführung). Other significant engagements include new productions at the opera houses of Barcelona, Geneva, Palermo, Cagliari and Genoa.

    In 1999 Julia made her Italian debut at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino conducting a new production of Lohengrin, and was immediately re-invited to conduct Verdi’s Macbeth, as well as several symphonic concerts. 

    Outside Europe Julia has conducted for Opera Australia in Melbourne and Sydney, for the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, and for Washington National Opera.

    Julia Jones conducts a wide range of symphonic repertoire from Baroque to modern music and has conducted several world premieres.  In the concert hall she has worked with orchestras such as the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, the Oviedo Philharmonic, the Royal Danish Orchestra, the Freiburg Philharmonic and the Orchestra Teatro Carlo Felice. Recent symphonic appearances include tours with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Belgium National Orchestra, the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, as well as concerts with the Bochumer Symphoniker where she was Artist in Residence in 2010.

    Highlights this season include Così fan tutte at Oper Köln, Fidelio and Così fan tutte at the Wiener Staatsoper, Die Zauberflöte at Semperoper Dresden, and Orlando at Theater Freiburg, as well as concerts with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and the Symphonieorchester Wuppertal. Future engagements also include Der fliegende Holländer at Den Norske Opera and returns to Oper Frankfurt and Covent Garden.

    • Orlando
      Theater Freiburg (July 2015)

      That stage and pit played together so well at the premiere of this three act opera is thanks to Julia Jones. The English conductor with an affinity for Baroque music is able to lead and support the singers confidently. With a Philharmonisches Orchester attuned to Baroque from head to toe - its string players using Baroque bows [and] its continuo section (with theorbo) showing off their competence – you hear transparent, expressive, never dominating Handelian sounds and find yourself saying: this is what it might have sounded like, back then, in London. This is what crispness and vitality sound like. ... Julia Jones knows how to do Handel.
      Johannes Adam, Badische Zeitung
      In the overture, the Philharmonische Orchester Freiburg under the masterful direction of Julia Jones, a declared Handel lover, dedicates itself as swiftly as fervently to a soft intonation. ... When [Orlando] then ... falls into a deep sleep in the larghetto aria, Julia Jones scales back the orchestra ... to near inaudibility – and makes you listen so much more. ... A great evening for opera lovers. Rapturous applause.
      Siegbert Kopp, Südkurier
    • Così fan tutte
      Volksoper Vienna (May 2015)

      Just as successful as the staging is the musical side of things. Julia Jones, a renowned Mozart specialist, presents Mozart of the highest quality. Perfect tempi, colourful arches of sound. It is easy to tell she has many years of experience with this composer.
      Sebastian Kranner, Der Neue Merker
      A lively characterisation of everything, however, was undertaken by the conductor. Julia Jones always accompanied her singers thoughtfully and brought out feature points – courageous, but always spot-on.
      Musically, the orchestra of the Volksoper can easily compete with the other orchestras in town. Conductor Julia Jones had it articulate vividly and transparently; she cleverly worked around the acoustic problems of the house by throwing prominent moments into sharp relief whilst flexibly and thoughtfully supporting the singers. ... everything coming from the pit sounded both solid and also inspired.
      Daniel Eder, Der Standard
      ...brisk and fiery playing coming from the orchestra directed by Julia Jones.
      Michael Wruss, Nachrichten.at
      Brisk charm. Musically, things at the Volksoper are approached briskly and with dynamic verve, thanks to Julia Jones.
      Wilhelm Sincovicz, Die Presse
      Even during the arias, the strong understandability of the text of Kurt Honolka’s relatively modern translation was a focus point. This approach was carried by conductor Julia Jones, who put herself and the Volksoper orchestra fully at the service of the drama.
      Mhh, Wiener Zeitung
    • Sinfoniekonzert
      Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal (February 2015)

      The smooth sobriety and zestful grip of Julia Jones work extremely well for [Handel’s Water Music]. She conducts the piece from memory and it makes a striking and festive opening. There is a gorgeous solo from the oboe, triumphant alternating entries from horns and trumpets, and regal splendour. The symphonic poem “Tintagel” by English composer Arnold Bax is also in good hands with Julia Jones; Bax wrote an overflowing, heaving piece with a lush soundworld, soulful sonority, and a great hymnic ending complete with concluding cymbal crash. She appears to be completely in her element and gets the most of the excellent orchestra she has been entrusted with.
      Dagmar Zschiesche, Der Westen
    • A baguette étincelante
      Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg (January 2015)

      In Mozart’s “Alte Lambacher – Sinfonie” in G major KV45a ..., Jones’ extraordinary aptitude for interpreting musical works in their full depth became apparent. The fine-grained and extremely energetic conducting technique, with which she motivated the instrumentalists, ensured musical pleasures in a class of their own. Thus [she] brought out the first movement’s truly refreshing character. The Andante [was] gorgeous. The perfect balancing of the sections of the orchestra was convincing beyond any doubt. The final movement was perfection and rounded off this Mozartian experience of sound. ... [In Britten’s “Young Apollo”] piano and orchestra worked extremely well together tonally. This and the accentuated, crisp rhythms made the work really shine. The renowned conductor Julia Jones proved herself as masterful and elegant, and inspired all the instrumentalists to their best.
      Mittelbadische Presse
    • Sinfoniekonzert
      Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg (November 2014)

      Julia Jones' [rendition of Mozart's] Symphony in D major (KV19) ... was brimming over with liveliness and expressivity.
      Johannes Adam, Badische Zeitung
    • Sax & Symfonie
      Nederlands Symfonieorkest (November 2014)

      Briton Julia Jones presented not only polished performances, but also showed that she has great feeling for the (seemingly impossible to tackle) challenges with which Bernstein's music bristles.
      Frits van der Waa, Volkskrant
    • Aida, Macerata
      50th Macerata Opera Festival (July 2014)

      Julia Jones conducted an interpretation which was both intimate and solemn.
      Il Resto del Carlino
      The conductor Julia Jones wanted and knew how to deliver an original and more intimate interpretation, ridding the score of the usual triumphalist clangs in favour of a more dramatic and intense approach.
      Maria Stafania Gelsomini, Cronache Maceratesi
      [This Aida] was very much at the mercy of the score, notable (finally and for once!) for its more dramatic and subtle turning points, thanks largely to the skilful conducting of Julia Jones.
      Filippo Davoli, Cronache Maceratesi
      The conductor Julia Jones quickly established the intimate character of the music.
      Gazetta del Sud
    • Fidelio
      Volksoper Vienna (May 2014)

      Musically, the production with the Volksoper Orchestra under the baton of Julia Jones, was an outright success.
      Daniel Ender, Der Standard
      Musically, it was overwhelmingly successful. Moreover, the orchestra was led ably and allowed to take risks under the baton of Julia Jones…the orchestra should be applauded for a commendable performance.
      Chanda Vander Hart, bachtrack
      For her crystal clear interpretation of the repeatedly rewritten version of the 1814 score, Julia Jones deserved the tumultuous applause.
      Harald Steiner, Kleine Zeitung
      Julia Jones chooses sensible tempos and creates dynamic contrasts which never interfere with the singers, still providing sufficient room to emphasize some of the more unusual details in the score without disturbing the homogeneity of the overall sound.
      Walter Weidringer, Die Presse
      The basis for such a successful musical premiere was Julia Jones, a spirited and gripping conductor. She succeeded in producing an impressive symphonic sound which provided a good accompaniment to the singers.
      Johan Jahnas, Der Neue Merker
      At the helm of the tonally pleasing orchestra conductor Julia Jones uses many emphases to create a well-defined musical accompaniment, building to a powerful finale. Overall a very good performance by the orchestra.
      Even more satisfying was the sound that came from the orchestra pit. There, the British conductor Julia Jones conducted a dry and sometimes angular interpretation of Beethoven’s score, which nevertheless always put the singers first.
      Salzburger Nachrichten
    • Bluebeard’s Castle
      Opéra National de Bordeaux (February 2014)

      In Bluebeard’s Castle, the quintessence of the drama is expressed by the orchestra: the British conductor Julia Jones conducts with a sense of orchestral colour that is almost impressionistic, reminding us of everything that links Bartok to Debussy; directing the Orchestre National Bordeaux-Aquitaine, she magnificently highlights their flexibility and clarity.
      Christian Merlan, Le Figaro
      On the podium, Julia Jones succeeds in distinguishing the different moods with great energy whilst highlighting the musical contrasts without the tension ever slackening… rich colours and a great sense of theatricality are everywhere. Barely recognizable since it moved into the its new auditorium, the Orchestre National Bordeaux-Aquitaine flourishes in the longer phrases, playing with an almost Straussian opulence, while exalting with clarity a glittering soundworld, eruptive and brilliantly impressionistic.
      Patrick Szersnovicz, Diapason
      The musical direction of Julia Jones is probably the highlight of the show. The musicians of the Bordeaux opera house have mastered the colours and the rhythms of the score with great ease. Julia Jones exploits the incredible timbres previously unheard from this opera which shimmers between the wonderful and the fantastic. It is wholly evocative and immensely powerful… The musical performance is of such quality that we (almost) accept witnessing Bluebeard kill Judith at the end and take the ring away… as if the intoxicating music from the pit allows us to forget all the many contradictions on the stage
      Sabina Pena Arcia, classiquenews.com
      Satisfaction at a well-appreciated performance was clearly demonstrated, with a unanimous ovation for the dark beauty of a piece that Julia Jones moulds with an iron baton.
      Satisfaction for a performance which seemed to have been appreciated was clearly demonstrated, with a unanimous ovation for the
      [Under Julia Jones] the precision and range of colour was remarkable, placing the Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine definitively as a major ensemble in France.
      Maxime Kaprielian, ResMusica
    • Otello
      Opéra National de Bordeaux (November 2013)

      Julia Jones takes the orchestra to the top… the British conductor never lets the dramatic tension sag… The main strengths of this company - the orchestra together with the well-blended choir - distinguish themselves as an ensemble of a high-level under her baton.
      Mehti Mahdavi, Diapason
      The Orchestre National de Bordeaux demonstrates remarkable cohesion… the fiery sound bubbles and fizzes from start to finish, from the initial storm to the final kiss theme, the score is breathtakingly rendered by Julia Jones’s conducting.
      Christophe Rizoud, Forum Opera
      In the pit [Julia Jones] ensures a perfect harmony between singers and the Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Bordeaux.
      Bruno Serrou, La Croix
      In the pit, the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine is faultless under the urgent direction of Julia Jones: she gives the score a stunning dramatic force.
      Noël Tinazzi, Rue du Theatre
      British director Julia Jones offered a brilliant reading of the opera, lively and attentive to detail. She drew an excellent performance from the orchestra, who had their sound under control at all times. This was one of the best performances I remember from Julia Jones, who will return to Bordeaux in a few months with Bluebeard’s Castle.
      José Mª. Irurzun, Seen and Heard International
      In the pit, Julia Jones (whom the Primo Uomo logically comes to get for the final bows) repeats the miracle of her Madama Butterfly: brilliant orchestral sound, faultless ensemble and balance between voices and orchestra, highlighting the genius of the instrumentation of late Verdi and of course it all breathes and sings. The Orchestre National de Bordeaux gives her their best.
      Maxime Kaprielian, ResMusica
    • Die Zauberflöte
      Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (April 2013)

      [Julia Jones’s] sheer skill in pacing and in sustaining long, energised lines of orchestral playing stepped up the momentum.
      Hilary Finch, The Times
      Jones's speeds are swift and energetic. There are genuine frissons of alarm in the whirling strings that indicate Tamino's terror at the start, and later on, a real sense of victory in trumpets and drums when trials are faced and overcome.
      Tim Ashley, The Guardian
      In Julia Jones the Royal Opera has a real find of a Mozart conductor, a rare species. The opening chord of the Overture, solid, solemn, carefully weighted, led to a wonderfully detailed account not only of this slightly academic orchestral piece but of the whole sublime masterpiece too.
      Michael Tanner, The Spectator
      Often, [Julia Jones] would throw in a deliciously long rubato in the closing cadence of a phrase before picking up the pace at the start of the next. Overall, it was a very assured orchestral performance, bright, upbeat and perfectly balanced against the singers.
      David Karlin, bachtrack.com
      Julia Jones making a welcome return after her 2010 Così and following her highly successful WNO Traviata maintained a fine balance throughout the evening. The fact that she had a mainly large-voiced cast of singers allowed her to play up the big moments to their full value but there was no shortage of delicacy either. Jones gauged a fine balance between the ponderous epics of the Klemperer type Flutes and the over fleet versions which lose the sense that anything of import is involved. The orchestra responded with excellent playing throughout.
      Sebastian Petit, Opera Britannia
      Julia Jones then conducted a performance that could hardly be criticised musically. The ROH Orchestra was lively, sensitive and warm.
      Hannah Sander, classicalsource.com
    • Idomeneo (new production)
      Oper Frankfurt (March 2013)

      The music is wonderfully performed by the orchestra under the Mozart expert Julia Jones who gives an interpretation of great lightness and clarity, helped by the virtuosic continuo playing of Felice Venanzoni on the fortepiano. Jones drives the action with mercurial tempi, perfectly balancing the dynamics with the singers on stage.
      Natascha Pflaumbaum, Deutschlandradio Kultur
      Julia Jones knows how to both conjure up joyous expression from the choir and tame the threatening forces of nature with the orchestra. The thrilling climax in the final bars was played with a wonderful intensity.
      Bettina Boyens, Gießener Allgemeine
      The conductor [Julia Jones] creates sharp contours of sound which carry the passion of Idomeneo’s tonal language.
      – Volker Milch, Wiesbadener Tagblatt
    • Idomeneo (new production)
      Semperoper Dresden (November 2012)

      Musically this production was also impressive. The British conductor Julia Jones holds Idomeneo very close to her heart, and she endowed the music with a dramatic thread which can be difficult to achieve in this somewhat fragmented work. Under her direction the Sächsiche Staatskappelle Dresden played Mozart’s music in a tasteful and historically informed way, but at the same time without compromising their own distinctly rich sound or losing any of the music’s dramatic quality, an impressive accomplishment.
      Matthew Lynch, bachtrack.com
      Guest conductor Julia Jones successfully led the Staatskapelle in a truly pleasurable Mozartian experience, combining dramatic drive with beauty, always maintaining the tension in the recitatives and keeping the instrumental passages in their dramatic context and thus proving them to be indispensable.
      Joachim Lange, Freie Presse
    • La Traviata, Welsh National Opera
      Millennium Theatre, Cardiff (February 2012)

      Julia Jones’s attention to the emotional detail of Verdi's score achieved a searing intensity.
      Rian Evans, The Guardian
      The star turn of this Traviata was a woman, but not one of the singers. Her name was Julia Jones, an English conductor of wide experience internationally, but as yet relatively under-exposed in the United Kingdom. She should be known better: in a score often treated as a beat-through by professional orchestras, she elicited from the players of the Welsh National Opera an account of the music so full of insight and emotional resonance that it often eclipsed what was happening onstage above them.
      Terry Blain, Opera Britannia
      The orchestra produces a wonderful spatial effect—evidence of a clinical attention to textural differentiation from conductor Julia Jones, who thus triumphantly concluded her WNO debut.
      Gavin Williams, Musical Criticism
    • Così fan tutte, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
      London (February 2010)

      Making her Covent Garden debut with this revival of Jonathan Miller's ¬production of Mozart's intricate ¬comedy is conductor Julia Jones, British-born, though as yet far better known in mainland Europe than here. She led a -remarkable ¬performance, notable for the sharp profile of the ¬ensembles, the ¬effectiveness of her tempo judgments and the lucid warmth of tone she drew from the orchestra. This production has witnessed some exceptional Mozartians in the pit over its 15 years, and Jones's interpretation ranks among the best.
      George Hall, The Guardian
      With Julia Jones conducting lively and trim Mozart in the modern style, and still finding time to get the inner lines in the ensembles to sing, this Così fan tutte makes as good an advertisement for the opera’s popularity today as any.
      Richard Fairman, The Financial Times
      Julia Jones sets tempi that are determined, at least in allegros, by the maximum speed at which rapid wind figuration can be still be cleanly, audibly articulated, exactly the sort of thing Karl Böhm used to do in Mozart, and which immediately predicates a fairly steady overture because the bassoon solos otherwise become a smudged blur, but as a result emerged immaculately here. Much else was similarly concerned with clarity of articulation, though it has to be said that whereas Böhm’s account of the score – which I heard at Covent Garden right at the end of his life – was suffused with a kind of golden, autumnal glow, Ms. Jones presents a far leaner, meaner sound (fortepiano recits, sharp and jagged) and, of course, a far fuller text.
      Stephen Jay-Taylor, Opera Britannia
      Tonally [Julia Jones] achieved much lightness and energy from her orchestra, which played well alongside the youthful onstage activities.
      Alexandra Coghlan, musicalcriticism.com
      Julia Jones directs the orchestra with fine attention to mood and detail, drawing taut playing in an auspicious Royal Opera debut.
      Edward Bhesania, The Stage
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