A Met show was canceled after a man stood up and threw what appears to be ashes near the stage. On Saturday, police shared some information about the individual whose identity has not been revealed. According to New York police, the man opened a backpack and took out a container of powder and sprinkled into the orchestra pit.
He fled the scene of the crime, and no one was arrested. Officials immediately canceled the performance of “William Tell,” which had already started and the building was evacuated. Met spokesman Sam Neuman said in a brief statement that the performance of “Guillaume Tell” was annulled out of precaution. Neuman shared:
“As a safety precaution, the Met canceled the remainder of the performance.”
Neuman added that people can call the opera and request new tickets. One person did require medical assistance. However, the police stated that no one was injured. Police believe that the powder was human ashes, but they have not confirmed that.
Due to the ongoing investigation, the Metropolitan Opera decided to annul Saturday night’s performance of “L’Italiana in Algeri.” Several people, who were at the opera, were very upset by the cancellation – while some booed, others requested that they get their money back.
One person spoke to the police and said that they heard the man saying that he was going to scatter the ashes of his mentor in the opera. John Miller, New York police deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said:
“We have spoken to more than one witness, who said they spoke to an individual from out of town who indicated he was here to sprinkle ashes of a friend, his mentor in opera, during the performance. That is certainly an area which we’re pursuing,”
Dylan Hayden, who came from Toronto to enjoy the performance, said he was disappointed by the way the situation was handled. A Met representative at first told the audience that the show was being cut short because of a technical issue.
A few minutes later, they explained that the performance had ended and they asked everyone to leave. Hayden said:
“Everybody kind of slowly walked out. As we were exiting the building, I noticed the counterterrorism unit going into the building.”
“The idea that they said that it was a technical error, when I was maybe 15 feet away from a potential dangerous substance, that kind of irks me a little bit. But at no point did I feel an actual threat.”
It is not clear if the investigation will move forward.