Metropolitan Opera Cancels Performance of Guillaume Tell after Powdery Substance Is Sprinkled in the Orchestra Pit!


Dear Commons Community,

Yesterday afternoon, my wife Elaine and I were attending the matinee performance of Guillaume Tell (William Tell) at the Metropolitan Opera when the third act was abruptly cancelled and the house evacuated. Someone in the audience had sprinkled an unidentified powder into the orchestra pit during the second intermission. 

The evacuation was orderly and handled well by the Met staff.  There were no injuries or any harmful reaction to the unidentified substance. The New York Police Department dispatched a special unit to investigate the incident.  The suspect, a man who was not identified, had fled the scene. John J. Miller, the deputy police commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism for the Police Department, indicated that a man told other patrons he was there specifically to sprinkle the ashes of a mentor during the performance. Mr. Miller said the act may have been a violation of the city’s health code but that there was no criminal intent.

Rossini’s opera is based on the William Tell legend and returned to the Met stage after an absence of more than 80 years.  It was quite a fine performance in a new production by Pierre Audi and led by Gerald Finley as Tell, the revolutionary on his quest for freedom. Marina Rebeka as Mathilde, Bryan Hymel as Arnold, and Jannai Brugger as Jemmy were in good voice.  Fabio Luisi conducted and his opening overture (the theme music for The Lone Ranger) received applause all around from the audience.

Just another autumn Saturday afternoon in the Big Apple!


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