Ashes at the Met: there will be consequences
October 31, 2016 by norman lebrecht
Musicians in the Metropolitan Opera orchestra have demanded an urgent meeting with Peter Gelb, we hear, over the security breach that allowed a deluded opera fan to scatter his friend’s ashes into their playing space during the second intermission of Saturday’s William Tell.
The fourth act of that opera was cancelled as a result, along with the evening’s Rossini opera.
The musicians are angry and concerned that their space was invaded so easily. Singers who were cancelled at short notice are resentful. And audience members would like to know why a man from Dallas who had told those around him that he planned to scatter human ashes was not reported to house security, and why security did not intervene. The man, Roger Kaiser (pictured), has been a compulsive pseudonymous contributor to an online opera fanzine.
Many operagoers would like to see him prosecuted for the offence and banned from attending opera.
Peter Gelb has questions to answer, as well as the cost of cancellation. His glib response – ‘We appreciate opera lovers coming to the Met. We hope that they will not bring their ashes with them’ – has not gone down well.
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