Julia Jones has made a “welcome return” (Opera Britannia) to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden: following on from her highly successful performances of Così fan tutte in 2010, Jones’s conducting of Die Zauberflöte has been hailed as one that can “hardly be criticised musically… the ROH orchestra lively, sensitive and warm” (Hannah Sander, classicalsource.com). Taking a lively and heart-felt approach to the work, Tim Ashley writes “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 the trumpets and drums when trials are faced and overcome” (The Guardian), whilst Hilary Finch observes how “her sheer skill in pacing and in sustaining long, energised lines of orchestral playing stepped up the momentum” (The Times). David Karlin also comments: “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” (bachtrack.com). Sebastian Petit sums up Julia Jones’s interpretation as one possessing “no shortage of delicacy… 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” (Opera Britannia).