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Metropolitan Opera cancelled after security scare

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Bella McGill, Editor

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On Saturday, Oct. 29, the afternoon performance of Guillaume Tell at the Metropolitan Opera House was cancelled when a man sprinkled a mysterious gray substance into the orchestra pit during the second intermission. The performance for later that night was also cancelled, but the Met reopened Monday, Oct 31.

New York City police officials believe that the substance was human ashes. Witnesses at the opera said that they heard a man telling people that he was at the performance to sprinkle the ashes of his former mentor. The man was later identified as Roger Kaiser, a resident of Dallas, Texas. In a letter to the Metropolitan Opera, Kaiser wrote how his former mentor and friend, who was suffering from cancer, asked Kaiser to sprinkle his ashes in various opera houses so that his friend “would be there forever enjoying all the beautiful music.”

Peter Gelb, the manager of the Met, accepted Kaiser’s apology and responded, “I trust that your future visits to the Met will be without incident, and that you will continue to proselytize about your love of opera to all who will listen.”

Kaiser was not charged with a crime, although his debacle cost the Met thousands of dollars and disappointed the audiences of both operas.

The last time that the Metropolitan Opera cancelled a performance was in 1988 after a patron jumped off of the Top Balcony and was killed during the intermission of Macbeth.

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