A Dallas man caused a whole lot of drama at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House Saturday when he sprinkled a suspicious powder-like mixture into the orchestra pit that turned out to be human ashes, police said.
“Members of the orchestra … noticed an individual in a suit who approached the orchestra pit, reached into a bag, removed a powdery substance, sprinkled that into the orchestra pit, moved further down, reached into the bag again, sprinkled more of this substance into the orchestra pit,” John Miller, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism told reporters at Lincoln Center.
Those in attendance were evacuated without seeing the entire performance of “Guillaume Tell,” many of them demanding a refund.
Kaiser was identified to police by members of the audience to whom the opera fan confided his mission. “An individual from out of town … indicated that he was here to sprinkle ashes of a friend, his mentor in opera, during the performance,” Miller said.
The Met later posted on its Facebook page news of the event and cancellation of Saturday night’s performance.
And, of course, social media had a little fun with it.
On average, Met Opera attendees were already quite close to death, but now they're crossing the line https://t.co/7Oqif5nPYn
— frognal (@frognal) October 30, 2016
"And when I die, please interrupt an opera and send the city into panic as a tribute" https://t.co/ktFNkWddoE
— David Freedlander (@freedlander) October 30, 2016
Kaiser, a 52-year-old jeweler and opera buff from Texas, was all set for a spectacular day at the opera. He posted a photo on Instagram holding tickets for both Saturday’s matinee and evening operas, saying “Oct 29 is gonna be a good day!”
Authorities said Kaiser might not face criminal charges as long as the substance proved to be human ashes.
“I don’t think he had any reason to believe what he did was wrong,” Miller said. “At this point, I don’t think we would refer to him as a [crime] ‘suspect.'”
“In my 11 years as manager this is a first,” Peter Gelb, general manager of the Met told the New York Daily News.