Pro-Palestinian demonstrators stopped traffic on Broad Street and disrupted the performance of Tosca at the Kimmel Center on Saturday night, frustrating both musicians and audience members.
As attendees made their way to the opera around 7:15 p.m., roughly 60 activists blocked both lanes of traffic but moved to the southbound lane where police directed traffic around them.
Two of the protesters that entered the hall led music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin to slam his baton on the podium and walk off the stage. Some musicians began to leave, too, before the protesters, who were loudly booed by the audience, were forcibly removed.
After the 10-minute disruption, the orchestra’s interim co-president, Matthew Loden, told the audience: “We live in an age where dissent is important. It matters. It should be heard. But the sanctity of the concert hall should be respected.”
Activists had been protesting outside nearly all of the orchestra’s Kimmel concerts for the last several weeks as the orchestra prepares to depart for its May 24-June 5 tour of Europe and Israel.