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Last Updated: Friday, 22 April, 2005, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
La Scala picks artistic director
La Scala artistic director Stephane Lissner
Stephane Lissner appointment follows three recent resignations
La Scala opera house in Milan has appointed a new artistic director as bosses attempt to recover from a management crisis.

Frenchman Stephane Lissner, of Paris's Theatre de la Madeleine, has been given a four-and-a-half year contract.

Musical director Riccardo Muti quit on April 2, citing the "hostility" of fellow employees after a series of rows. His post has yet to be filled.

The president of the orchestra quit last week, giving no explanation.

"Music will be my absolute priority," Lissner said after Thursday's meeting of La Scala's board of directors.

Move welcomed

Mr Lissner's appointment was welcomed both by the musical establishment and unions representing the opera's 800-strong workforce.

"We believe this is the opening of a new chapter," said Giancarlo Albori, a spokesman for La Scala workers union.

The prestigious opera house has been dogged by in-fighting in recent months.

World famous conductor Mr Muti left, claiming he had been driven out by the staff's "theatrical show of hostility" over his firing of artistic director Carlo Fontana in February.

Cancelled shows

Protests meant performances were cancelled following Mr Fontana's sacking as the workforce called for Mr Muti and Mr Fontana's replacement Mauro Meli to resign.

Mr Meli offered his resignation and is now replaced by Mr Lissner.

President of the orchestra, Fedele Confalonieri, quit on April 11 but gave no further explanation.

La Scala, which reopened last December after three years of renovations costing 61m euros (42m), is forecast to make a deficit of 16 million euros (10.9m) this year.

As well as working at the Theatre de la Madeleine, Mr Lissner is manager of the prestigious Aix-en-Provence lyric art festival, which he will continue to direct until 2009.

He is also musical director of the Vienna festival and co-director of the Bouffes du Nord theatre in Paris.


SEE ALSO:
Another resignation at La Scala
12 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Maestro Muti quits La Scala post
02 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
La Scala staff defy famed maestro
17 Mar 05 |  Entertainment
La Scala board fires top official
25 Feb 05 |  Entertainment
Glittering debut for new La Scala
08 Dec 04 |  Entertainment
La Scala's restoration drama
02 Jan 03 |  Europe


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