September was all about WNO - the start of my trial for principal bass. There are three bass players on trial - I am one of two based in the UK, and there is a third coming over from the US for a week's work on an orchestral concert in late Oct. Kai Carson West is principal for Don Giovanni, and half of Barber of Seville - I am doing the other half of Barber and all of Janacek's wonderful opera Katya Kabanova.
WNO is a stunning company and orchestra - this is my real view, not just a flimsy attempt at point scoring should one of the band come across this blog! I am seriously impressed with all musicians I haver worked with to date. It has been tough - its a trial in every sense of the word, which is the way I guess it should be.
Lothar Koenigs is WNO's principal conductor - he is passionate, focussed, incredibly well prepared, very clear and consistant among his other talents. There are not many conductors for whom that list of adjectives could be applied. He is also driven - he pushes himself and all those around him to the limit, and sometimes beyond, in his focus in the best possible result. This creates pressure for all of us. The result - a stunning interpretation of Katya, one that should not be missed. I have learnt a lot.