"Designed by Deirdre Clancy and Sam Steer and directed by Ptolemy Christie, Winslow Hall’s jazz age La traviata has a fancy-dress party atmosphere……..Against this cheerfully rackety background the poise and sincerity of Elena Xanthoudakis (Violetta) and Pablo Bemsch (Alfredo) is thrown into relief. Both singers have even-tone production and beautifully idiomatic phrasing and their blend in duet is exquisite……..Quentin Hayes’s stern Germont and Freya Jacklin’s watchful Annina stand out among the supporting cast. The orchestral sound is vibrant and immediate, with lively detail from the woodwind and expressive strings, but this La traviata belongs to Violetta and her lover".
"There was an energy in Oliver Gilmour’s orchestra from the outset. After a superlative start by exposed upper strings joined by unusually splendid horn, one was constantly struck by the quality and preparedness of his ensemble: effortless solo violin.….clarinet arpeggios for Violetta’s Act I soliloquy; falling violas reiterating what amounts to a fate motif in Act II, scene I, as she implores Alfredo to adore her; and immensely eerie low cellos as he opens the letter she has left him. There was the aptly nergetic pacing of her last Act I reflection, translated as ‘Free and aimless must I flutter?’ This, and much more, impacted strongly and lent immense character to the score and the events unfolding onstage…..Compact opera that leaves something to the imagination may not be to everyone’s taste. But I found many aspects of this Traviata inspired and enriching. I preferred it infinitely to Peter Hall’s sprawling, revived Glyndebourne staging. You really felt uou were in the room with the characters and coud see the whites of their eyes – Bemsch’s scared stare particularly".
Daily Classical Music
"The petite Xanthoudakis…. looked exquisite….she phrased with such sensitivity that each line
was given its expressive due – and the coloratura in ‘Sempre libera’ was impressive. The appealing air of gentle melancholy that characterises Bemsch’s tone and presence did not preclude him from the challenge of the public denunciation in Act 2, while the assurance and resilience of Quentin Hayes’ voice brought an edge to his characterisation of Germont……Adopting the traditional cuts, Gilmour led a performance that sustained a vivid dramatic pace and even brought a fresh lift to the Act 1 Brindisi".