Just in: Dallas ashes man apologises to the Metropolitan Opera

Just in: Dallas ashes man apologises to the Metropolitan Opera


norman lebrecht

November 02, 2016

The Met has released to the New York Times the text of a letter it has received from Roger Kaiser, the Dallas fan who scattered his friend’s ashes in the orchestra pit on Saturday, causing the abandonment of one opera performance and the cancellation of another.

Here’s the overture to Kaiser’s explanation:

Dear Mr. Gelb and the entire Metropolitan Opera community,

I never imagined I would ever need to sit down and write an apology to several thousand opera goers, to all the people behind the scenes and in the productions, to the staff of such a beloved arts organization, and to New York’s emergency responders. Yet I find myself needing to extend a heartfelt apology to all concerned for inadvertently creating a disturbance at the Metropolitan Opera last weekend.

By way of making amends, please allow me to share a bit of my story, and that of Terry Turner, under whose tutelage I became an avid opera lover.

Terry was a regular customer at the restaurant where I worked for many years. He sat in another waiter’s section, so I only knew him by face. After I went to my first opera in 1999, one of our mutual friends told me Terry really loved opera. So I gave him my number and we chatted a little bit….

You may read the full letter here.




  • Larry says:

    It was decent of him to write this apology but what he did was still incredibly foolish and reckless. He could have distributed the ashes in Damrosch Park, overlooking the Met, and no one would have ever known.

  • Mario Denis says:

    lovely tale but well next time sprinkle it on the outdoor stairs….maybe, if you are lucky, a lovely fine misty rain will trickle them to a charming brook under a fabulous moonlight.

  • James Aberdale says:

    As block-headed as this was, it’s hard to doubt his sincerity. Hope he will be welcomed back as people like him are the life’s-blood of the art form.

  • Maria Silva says:

    What does he mean by “inadvertently creating a disturbance”? Inadvertently? What did he think the response to human ashes being scattered inside a theater, would be? Does he have a brain or a bag of peanuts? Is he brain dead or something?

  • Richard Gibbs says:

    Joan Rivers said:

    “My husband wanted to be cremated. I told him I’d scatter his ashes at Neiman Marcus – that way, I’d visit him every day.”

    The Met, Newman Marcus, what’s the difference?

  • V.Lind says:

    Joan Rivers, sentient adult, what’s the difference? The woman could probably not have named an opera.

    If these people were any dumber, you would have to water them.

  • Helen Wynn says:

    Sorry I still want a personal apology for what toll this trip and loss of two opera performances have taken on me. Serious depression have been with me since the death of my husband and this guy has caused near irreparable harm to me. Sorry to keep besting this dead horse but I am sick and tired of his getting a platform to spew his views when we have to suffer in relative silence

    • me says:

      why is missing a day of opera irreparable harm? You can sue him if you like, but I’d think you would only get back the cost of a show and maybe hotel — it’s not like there is nothing else fun to do in nyc! Sorry for your loss, but you need to find ways to heal, multiple ways to heal, and the strength to deal with public health shut downs, terror concerns, etc. will be an antidote to depression

  • cynical bystander says:

    Assuming that the photograph attached to this is recent, the apple on his head would indicate it is, this does not look like someone who is filled with contrition rather the opposite. Waiting 3 years to do what he did does not seem to me to ring true unless the MET is the latest in a long line of houses in which he has done this. Either way I think my response to the disruption he has caused would be rather less sentimental than much of what has so far appeared on social media.

    • Yes Addison says:

      That photo is what the news organizations got off of his social media, taken when he was excited about going to Guillaume Tell. You know, at some earlier point before he sprinkled ashes and became notorious, he was just an opera fan who had tickets to two Rossini operas and was happy about that. The photo is goofy, but it was intended for his social media friends to see, and goofiness was the idea.