Powder sprinkled into opera pit may have been human ashes
A powdery substance a man sprinkled into the orchestra pit at New York’s Metropolitan Opera may have been an opera lover’s ashes, police say.
The freakish incident during a Saturday afternoon performance of Rossini’s “Guillaume Tell” forced Met officials to cancel the rest of the show as well as an evening performance of a second opera.
John Miller, the New York Police Department’s deputy commissioner in charge of intelligence and counterterrorism, said several audience members said a man told them he was there to sprinkle the ashes of a friend, his mentor in the opera.
Miller said the man was in front of the first row of seats when he sprinkled the powder into the orchestra pit during the second intermission when most of the musicians were not present.
He said the powder will be tested, but the possibility that it was in fact human ashes “is certainly an area that we are pursuing.”
Police know who the man is and are reaching out to him, Miller said, adding that the man does not live in New York.
Miller said the disposal of ashes at an opera house may violate city codes but, “I don’t believe at this point that we see any criminal intent here.”
Met General Manager Peter Gelb said, “We appreciate opera lovers coming to the Met. We hope that they will not bring their ashes with them.”