Perhaps you’ve heard the recent news story about Roger Kaiser, the Dallas-area jeweler who caused a terrorism scare by sprinkling his mentor Terry Turner’s ashes into the orchestra pit of New York’s Metropolitan Opera (aka. the Met). Unicorn Booty has confirmed through an acquaintance that Kaiser — a 52-year-old jeweler from Dallas — is in fact gay, something only hinted at in various parts of his sincere, heartfelt apology e-mail to the Met.
Kaiser’s e-mail explains their relationship :
After I went to my first opera in 1999, one of our mutual friends told me Terry really loved opera. So I gave him my number and we chatted a little bit. He was, sadly, moving back to Atlanta in just a few days.
But our relationship immediately became that of pen pals. We wrote religiously. I, being completely new to the art form, asked the most basic of questions. He, a master of all things opera, answered them patiently and completely.
By the end of his life, I had a stack of Terry’s letters on his nice stationery more than 8 inches deep.
Eight inches deep, eh? Forgive our adolescent snickering — the rest of Kaiser’s e-mail is absolutely lovely as he goes on to explain that he and Turner discussed opera every morning during their two-hour breakfasts together. In 2012, Turner fell deeply ill to a recurrence of cancer and soon found himself admitted into Parkland Hospital; Turner would never return home.
Kaiser explains the promise he then made:
I told Terry that if he would like, I would take some of his ashes to opera houses that I visited in the future. Trying to lighten the mood, I jokingly told Terry they would never be able to vacuum all of him up. He would be there forever enjoying all the beautiful music. His coherency was not good, really, but he sure liked the idea. About a week later, he died on April 25, 2012.
Kaiser’s apology e-mail to the Met actually reads a bit like a love letter, and the Met’s response has been gracious and kind. Not only did they decide not to press charges, but Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, even invited Kaiser back to the Met:
“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. I trust that your future visits to the Met will be without incident, and that you will continue to proselytize about your love of opera to all those who will listen.”
It’s an especially happy ending considering that Kaiser has been getting absolutely DRAGGED by opera blog commenters calling him an idiot and saying that he should refund the ticket costs of everyone who missed the day’s performances over his actions.
We thought it important to highlight Kaiser’s homosexuality to re-substantiate the deep devotion many LGBT people have to the arts and to celebrate Kaiser and Turner’s deep and abiding friendship — their shared love of opera changed their lives and literally made headlines, if even over a misguided final gesture.