The New York Metropolitan Opera evacuated on Saturday evening due to a mysterious powdery substance. The full story is slightly alarming but, thankfully, leans more to the bizarre. During the second intermission for a Guillaume Tell performance, a man walked right up to the stage and sprinkled something from a bag into the orchestra pit. Naturally, this prompted fears of terrorism, and the Met cancelled the rest of the performance with the NYPD embarking upon testing of the powder.
The New York Times reports how police believe the man was hell bent upon scattering his mentor’s ashes in the pit, and that he had told other opera patrons he intended upon doing so. Police also dug though surveillance footage to identify the man, and although the pit became “a crime scene,” the counterterrorism unit believes this was simply a health code violation:
John J. Miller, the deputy police commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism for the Police Department, provided few details about the man or his mentor other than to say the man was from outside of New York and that the police were trying to contact him. The man told other patrons he was there specifically to sprinkle the ashes during the performance, the police said. Mr. Miller said the act may have been a violation of the city’s health code but that there was no criminal intent.
The New York Daily News spoke with police sources, who revealed that the man’s name is Roger Kaiser. He hails from Texas and made a number of social media posts, wherein he expressed excitement for the performance. In one photo, he even posed with an apple on his head in reference to William Tell.
Kaiser angered audience members with his actions, after which he allegedly waltzed out of the building like nothing happened. In addition, the Met musicians were pretty peeved about their instruments being declared off limits during the investigation. This was an inconvenience for all involved, but the situation could have been so much worse.