Monday, October 11, 2010

23 June 2010 Royal Opera House, Sub Princ, First Round

The Royal Opera House were auditioning for a 2nd Sub Principal, ie no 3. They set:-
Concerto movement of candidate’s choice – I played the first movement of the Dragonetti
Britten Peter Grimes – Act 1, 76-77, slow con sord passage in octaves (divisi) in E maj.
Britten Peter Grimes – Act 3, 11-12, the fast leaping passage in 6 flats
Verdi Otello – Act 1, four bars of pp staccato triplet quavers
Verdi Otello – Act 4, U-Z, the usual bit, the bass section solo starting on low E
Verdi La Traviata – Act 1, Stetta dell Introduzione, the fast passage starting in F min, in two bar phrases going up a semitone each time
Wagner Lohengrin – Act 1, 40-41, dotted rhythm passage

The excerpts were pretty good really – all opera, so apt. A wide range of playing was required, full dynamic range, lots of articulations and excellent choice to test a candidate.
My prep could have been better – I had landed from Australia less than a week before the audition, had my Tarr bass smashed up by Malaysian Airlines, who’s customer service is an oxymoron. It doesn't exist. So I had to switch basses at short notice. I thought the excerpts went well, but I crashed and burnt in the concerto. "Pension", my Italian bass is magnificent, but much bigger that the Tarr and I struggled with the higher stuff on it. No excuses - I had a great bass to play, just didnt play it well enough on the day. I was happy with my control of nerves, bar a few bow shakes, I was pretty much in control of both hands.
The panel were really positive– Tony Hougham, Paul Kimber, Keith Hartley and two other string players. The audition was done in the open.
Outcome – I didn’t get thro, didn’t play well enough. So it was good audition practice, onto the next one.

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