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Opera boss in Italy row says he is 'no donkey'

AFP

The next director of La Scala opera house in Milan, Alexander Pereira, during a press conference on July 24, 2013 in Salzburg, AustriaThe next director of La Scala opera house in Milan, Alexander Pereira, during a press conference on July 24, 2013 in Salzburg, Austria

The next director of La Scala opera house in Milan, Alexander Pereira, during a press conference on July 24, 2013 in Salzburg, AustriaThe next director of La Scala opera house in Milan, Alexander Pereira, during a press conference on July 24, 2013 in Salzburg, Austria

The soon-to-be director of La Scala opera house in Milan said on Friday he will prove he is "no donkey" after getting caught up in a conflict of interest row.

Austria's Alexander Pereira has ruffled feathers in Milan by getting La Scala to take on four productions from the Salzburg Festival which he currently heads up.

Some members of La Scala's board had called for Pereira's appointment to be scrapped altogether but eventually proposed cutting short his three-year contract to just over one year ending in December 2015.

"I accept this decision," Pereira told the Corriere della Sera daily, although he signalled he would like his stay in Milan to be extended once he takes up the prestigious post in September of this year.

"I hope to prove to the people on the board during my year that I am no donkey," the 66-year-old was quoted by the La Stampa daily as saying, although he admitted that he had "maybe committed a bureaucratic error".

Pereira's stint will coincide with the Milan Universal Exposition between May and October 2015.

Pereira is known as a skilled fundraiser and promoter of young talent who has worked with some of the biggest stars in opera including Riccardo Muti and Zubin Mehta.

Pereira, who started out working for Italian technology company Olivetti, is artistic director of the Salzburg Festival and formerly led the Zurich Opera House.

Date created : 2014-05-16