People stand in front of the La Scala opera house during the opening of the 2017-2018 opera season in Milan, Italy December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
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Italy's premier opera house, La Scala in Milan, is under fire over a proposal to grant a board seat to Saudi Arabia's culture minister with the promise of 15 million euros ($16.8 million) in new funding.La Scala's general manager, Alexander Pereira, declined to comment on the controversy during a news conference called to announce a special concert commemorating the elevation to sainthood last year of Pope Paul VI.He cited the politicization of the discussion around the Saudi funds.He said he followed up with a visit to Saudi Arabia in January "and from there our project was born".He told La Stampa that the project would include 3 million euros a year over five years, plus plans to open a music and dance conservatory in Riyadh run by La Scala's academy that would bring another 7 million euros for the academy over three years.
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