Think you love opera? To death?

Would you have your ashes sprinkled into the pit of your favourite opera house?

New York City’s Metropolitan Opera was forced to cancel its Saturday afternoon performance of Guillaume Tell after an audience member sprinkled an unidentified powder, which police believe was cremated ashes, into the orchestra pit.

At the expense of sounding a bit too into the season, I find this idea tempting. Though I think “the sprinkler” went about it wrongly. First off, this is not something you share with your seatmates. You also don’t do it during intermission. I think the best time to go about it would be after the curtain falls, whilst everyone is gathering their things and the ushers can’t wait to go home. Then you nonchalantly turn your back to the pit and pour the ashes behind your back, just so. If anyone asks, you pretend some “tobacco” dropped out of your pocket >>charming smile<<.

But even better, assuming the pit does get swept occasionally, why not pour the ashes over a potted plant in the lobby? It’s organic. Surely the ghost or whatever can float into the auditorium if it wants to watch a show (I for one can see worse things than spending eternity in the Wigmore Hall lobby). Or, if the future ghost isn’t happy with that, you can sprinkle the ashes from the balcony onto the parterre during curtain calls. Just don’t be too obvious, it’s not like you have to sprinkle 3kg of ashes, is it?

Now, Guillaume Tell… an odd opera to sprinkle ashes to. But perhaps the dearly departed favoured it. My first thought for optimal ash sprinkling moment was Deh tu, bell’anima from I Capuleti e i Montecchi (precisely that one, thank you very much). You get everything there: a crypt, a (supposedly) dead love of your life and eternity. Also people might be discreetly bawling so less likely to be paying attention to you. Failing that (by which I mean a suitable Romeo), the Eterni dei chorus is a good option as well, what with being grand and lofty and final. Select a trusted conductor.

Anyway, have a good Day of the Dead season, all 🙂


About dehggial

Mozart/Baroque loving red dragon

Posted on October 30, 2016, in rossini and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I have to admit that I have thought of having my ashes sprinkled in or over the MET. I never stopped to think of the logistics though 😀
    If I had to choose a musical moment though, it would have to be “Tu ch’a Dio spiegasti l’ali” from Lucia di Lammermoor….

    • ah, good to be vindictated 😉 mum thought I was being weird and disrespectful when I talked positively about this story! I like your choice, too. That time period had a knack for morbidity.

  2. It does seem to me not a well reasoned plan to scatter a person’s ashes in a place that is likely to be vacuumed. There are plenty of perfectly serviceable planters outside in Damrosch Park, plus that whole grass slope thing on the Juilliard side.

    If one needs to be inside the building for it to count in some cosmic way, maybe the Designated Scatterer could lob a bag from the score desks onto the sculpture above the stage, as I’m pretty sure they haven’t touched that since 1966.

    • I hope he reads this for next time 😀 your idea also works at the ENO, where there are some complicately sculpted surfaces on each side of the stage. If anyone ever ventures to clean those they have my utter respect.

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