Descent into Oboe Hell

Principal Oboe Olivier Stankiewicz is embarking upon the oboe solo at the end of last Sunday’s performance of The Damnation of Faust when he realises he has a water bubble in his keys.

Tapping to clear it, he accidentally splits his reed. In a heartbeat he leans over and grabs 2nd Oboe Rosie Jenkins’ oboe and continues the solo – Rosie’s oboe has a completely different fingering system to Olivier’s, which does not trouble him even for a moment.

What we didn’t capture on camera: Rosie cleans Olivier’s instrument, fits a new reed and hands it back to him, all in time for their next entries.

And meanwhile, none of the players around them bats an eyelid, and no one in the hall is any the wiser that there has been a drama.

The cameras were rolling because we live-streamed the whole concert which you can watch here:

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