Milan mayor and chairman of La Scala board, Giuseppe Sala, arrives for a board of Italy's famed La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy, Friday, June 28, 2019. Milan's mayor announced last June 19 that the board of the famed La Scala opera house has agreed on a new general manager to succeed Austrian Alexander Pereira, whose money-making but sometimes troubled 5-year mandate expires in February. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

La Scala board to decide new manager amid backstage turmoil

June 28, 2019 - 12:52 pm

MILAN (AP) — La Scala's board is meeting to decide who will succeed Austrian Alexander Pereira as general manager when his money-making but sometimes-troubled 5-year mandate expires in February.

The succession has created behind-the-scenes drama at the opera house — with star soprano Cecilia Bartoli announcing on Facebook that she was withdrawing from a production of Handel's Giulio Cesare in solidarity with Pereira, a long-time friend.

A decision is expected Friday.

Pereira, who was tapped for his fundraising prowess and is also the theater's artistic director, helped find 58 million euros ($65 million) in new private funding.

However, he had political run-ins from the start. During one, Milan's mayor said the Austrian had demonstrated a level of political naiveté in navigating the management of one of the world's most prestigious opera houses.

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