There is limited rehearsal time for live orchestral concerts – as a conductor, how do you quickly generate a chemistry or rapport with the musicians on stage?
So far, I've only conducted the show myself at the Hollywood Bowl, and I already had some familiarity with the musicians because about two thirds of them played on the original score recording sessions. Coming in and working with a new orchestra will be a new experience for me. Luckily I have the chance to do the show in one other city before I come to Sydney in December. I'd like to think I'll be authoritative but always polite, and self-deprecating when necessary. Rehearsing for the Hollywood show, I remember I apologised a few times for bad orchestration. Every now and then something wouldn't work quite right, and I'd look in the score and realise that I did something pretty dumb in the orchestration. I think the musicians got a kick out of that.
What is your all-time favourite moment in the movie?
I love when Mia bows after her poorly attended one-woman show, and in the seat she was blocking before she bowed, you can see the casting director who would later change her life. I also get a kick out of the inane conversation dinner conversation between Mia's boyfriend and his brother before Mia ditches them. Right as the sound of their conversation is fading, one of them says, “I heard China is building a Panama Canal”.
Watch the SSO perform La La Land in Concert at the Sydney Opera House on 7-9 December.