La Scala Board to Decide on Controversial Saudi Funding

Spanish soprano Saioa Hernandez, on the ground, and Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov, right, performing during a rehearsal of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Attila,” in Milan, Italy. (Brescia/Amisano/Teatro alla Scala via AP)

MILAN (AP) — The directors of Italy’s premier opera house, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, are meeting to decide whether to accept controversial funding from Saudi Arabia.

The meeting Monday came amid media reports last weekend that at least some of the $17 million had been deposited into an escrow account pending approval of the funding.

The deal, which would include giving a seat on the La Scala board to Saudi Arabia’s culture minister, has been hotly contested due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. The kingdom is under increased scrutiny internationally since the killing of a Saudi journalist inside its consulate in Istanbul last October.

The governor of Lombardy has called for the dismissal of the opera house’s general manager, while a few workers have turned out in his defense.

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