La Scala under fire for proposed funding from Saudi Arabia

MILAN — 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.

The plan, which is to be voted on next week by La Scala's board, has been harshly criticized by members of the governing League party as well as by former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, citing human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala, who chairs the La Scala board, on Tuesday declined to say whether he favors the plan, saying he does not want to influence the board's decision. He said that the issues of Saudi sponsorship and the allocation of a board seat could be considered separately.

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