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“Conductor James Southall showed that he doesn't just know the music but loves it and understands it. It is difficult to take seriously an overture which includes a variation of 'God Save the Queen’ but Southall did and drew a performance of striking drama from the orchestra. Throughout he showed a nice tendency to push the more dramatic sections, creating some vivid moments, whilst giving the singers space in gentler passages. This created a feeling of urgency in the drama which matched the performance, whilst never making us think it was over-metronomic or rushed.”

- Robert Hugill (Roberto Devereux)

“James Southall’s conducting is a major contributory factor – his tempos are on the speedier side, and with fantastically responsive playing from the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera allied to some engaging continuo playing there is a great spontaneity and nuance.”

- Alexander Campbell (Don Giovanni)

“With some supple singing and deft ensemble interplay throughout, they are helped by conductor James Southall’s airy punchiness, and fine playing from the WNO Orchestra.”

- Steph Power for (Don Giovanni)

“He directed a performance both tight and fluent, rhythmically exciting and supportive of the singers (and dancers) on stage. The orchestra seemed to be relishing the music a good deal, and, especially in the orchestral preludes, notably that to Act III, there was some outstanding playing.”

- Glyn Pursglove for Seen and Heard International (Die Fledermaus)

“Members of the WNO orchestra under James Southall played Le Vin Herbé on-stage with grave beauty, and the WNO chorus sang Martin’s mournful declamatory lines with their wonted urgency and passion…”
- Ivan Hewett for The Telegraph


"Conductor James Southall brings the score to life with zest, and there are moments when his connection with the soloists is exciting – almost as if he were a member of the cast himself."

- Kate Kellaway for The Guardian


“James Southall conducts a neat, crisp reading of the score, and WNO’s excellent orchestra revels in Rossini’s trademark crescendos. The sum of it is pure entertainment, never something to be sniffed at..”

- Rupert Christiansen for The Telegraph

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