The Financial Times has some, understandable, reserves in an otherwise excellent review:
My cheers for the ensemble are as loud as anyone’s, as also my admiration for the principals: for José Martin’s vivid Lescaut, for Gary Avis’s tumescent Monsieur GM, for Itziar Mendizabel as Lescaut’s mistress, sailing through terrible difficulties with sublime insouciance, for Bennet Gartside’s superlative gaoler (the best ever?), for Christine Arestis’s madam. And my usual bouquet for the tiny tart in the apricot Vigée Lebrun trouser suit, saucily delicious, played with the merriest glances.
For Sergey Polunin’s debut as des Grieux unalloyed praise: the role beautifully danced (physical presence perfectly controlled, line and phrasing eloquent, character understood) and given with a sure sense of its tragic momentum.
For Lauren Cuthbertson’s first Manon, reserves about her curiously impassive manner, about the lack of that sexual perfume which must permeate the character, making for an un-nuanced reading in the first two acts, dutiful and clear though the dancing was.
Manon’s secret is her involuntary sexual charm: rather like Marilyn Monroe, she cannot help her own erotic power, nor the tragedy that it brings in its train. The role demands just this moral and sensual naivete which Cuthbertson, in this first account, underplays.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.