I got a phone call from Opera North, one of the guys was sick, so I shot up to the Lowry in Manchester, to do The Merry Widow. Its always odd to go into the middle of a season - the band know the piece inside out, I am sightreading. I laugh at some of the gags in the dialog, but I am the only one as the band have heard them many times before. Thank goodness I was sharing a desk with Claire Sadler, who was lovely and very clear - she guided me thro a tricky gig. There was not a lot to play, it just where you play it that was the issue! The band are fantastic - as tight as a drum. All in all, it was a great show, and a good day out. And it was great to meet Michael Escreet - I had heard his name lots, as he was a bass player with the Beeb Phil in Manchester for many years.
Also I bumped into principal cello Sally Pendlebury - Sally is my vintage and like me ex Manchester Youth Orchestra, many years ago. Here were are, back in Manchester, 30-odd years later.
Its noticeable that everyone is playing on a sensational old instruments here. There is a real culture of playing fantastic sounding old basses in the UK, in all orchestras. I recently did a gig with Nicko, a very good amateur player who plays on a fantastic Lott bass (probably junior, but might be a Grandaddy). And I have been chatting to Graham Appleton (http://www.finetune.co.uk/), another excellent amatuer player who plays on a venitian bass, Busan school. Wow.