Before you feel you have an idea of how it’s going, suddenly it’s the dress rehearsal. And the next time you come to this orchestra, you start again from the beginning althogh you know them a little better.
I work on it a lot at home. When I study a music score, I go through it page by page, and I try to sing it to myself.
When you step in front of such an orchestra, there is so much coming at you, in terms of sound, possibilities, and ways of seeing things. If you don’t have your own point of view about the sound, as a conductor, you will flounder.