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THE SCOOP | Man Issues Formal Apology For Scattering Ashes At The MET

By Michael Vincent on November 3, 2016

People crowd around Plaza in front of the MET opera house before the canceled performance of L'Italiana in Algeri (Photo: Joseph So)
People crowd around Plaza in front of the MET opera house before the canceled performance of L’Italiana in Algeri after man throws ashes into the orchestra pit. (Photo: Joseph So)

Since Roger Kaiser, a Dallas Opera fan decided it would be a good idea to scatter the ashes of his deceased “mentor” over top of a working orchestra pit at the MET last weekend, Facebook and Twitter have been alight with suggestions that opera goers would do well to keep their dead friend’s body parts to themselves.

The result caused the immediate cancellation of a performance of a multi-million dollar production of L’Italiana in Algeri. The performance was also one of Maestro Levine’s last stands on the podium.

After a few days of silence, Kaiser has now issued an apology letter addressed to Peter Gelb and the MET.

In the letter, he describes his actions as “a sweet gesture to a dying friend that went completely and utterly wrong in ways that I could never have imagined.”

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.

Mr. Gelb responded stating, “Although your action on behalf of your friend caused the members of our company several anxious hours, severely disappointed our audiences, and cost the Met, its artists and the City many thousands of dollars, I appreciate the sincerity of your apology and the innocence of your intentions, even though misguided.”

You can read Kaiser’s full apology, here.

Note, in Canada, it is illegal to scatter cremated remains on private property without the consent of the landowner. If a landowner agrees to allow multiple scatterings on their property or building, they must declare it a cemetery, and obtain the appropriate government licenses.

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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is Publisher of Ludwig Van. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. He has worked as a senior editor over fifteen years and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
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