… and I sit here feeling so uncomfortable. My stomach is even a bit “troubled”. Go figure.

Yes, indeed, I left the pit after my final number. I made a very quick and, I hope, unnoticeable exit. I went out the closest pit door. I took the hallway to the stairway, took those stairs to the near backstage area, and then went up the little rampway and out that stage door entrance/exit.


I’ve never done this before.

Certainly I’ve left a concert when I’ve not been needed to perform the last work. But I’ve never left an opera before. And I’m still feeling nervous about it all.

It’s not like they would need me back; they haven’t any time to rehearse, and we never rehearse at the final dress anyway. But it sure is weird to leave like that. Any opera instrumentalists reading this? Do you ever leave early? Do you get over that sort of nervous, sick to your stomach, “I can’t really be finished!” feeling?

Opening night is Saturday. Just in case anyone is wondering!


  1. Good for you! I’m sure if the conductor had a problem with it, you’ll hear about it next time. I guess since you’re feeling guilty about this, it’s because you didn’t ask for permission ahead of time?

    My own personal feeling is: they’re paying for your time, and if they wanna waste it, at least you’re getting paid to do so. But I’m not a busy mother/part-time prof/part-time oboist! Might not be a bad idea to mention something to the personnel manager, particularly if they seem more “pro-musicians” .        

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    I asked the personnel manager; the conductor is a guest and isn’t really the one I am supposed to ask, although we had talked earlier — during a different rehearsal — and he was fine with my leaving. Of course my colleagues have a fit.

    Sure, we are paid for our time. But traditionally, in most orchestra pits, folks leave, from all I’ve been told. We are paid to PLAY, truth be told. I have nothing more to play! 🙂

    If I could see and hear the opera you can bet I’d stick around. Sitting and staring into space isn’t quite so enjoyable.

  3. Power to you! I’m glad you took a step of courage!

  4. Katarina Eriksson

    Actually, I rarely leave the pit – except when I’m playing 2nd oboe in Il Barbiere, of course,,,

    But, I have loads of brass playing colleagues who does it all the time. They claim that there’s an old rule saying that if you have more than 20 minute’s rest you may leave. I really think they have to be more conscious of what is happning when they aren’t playing, they often are quit disturbing with their continuous exits/entrances.

    If you feel the way you do, I’m sure you never leave in a way that disturbs anyone – only considerate people feel that way!