The administrators of Milan's famous La Scala opera house and opera company are asking the Italian government for more urgent financial assistance.
GV PAN EXTERIOR La Scala building (2 shots)
SCU Sign showing current performance with people looking at it (2 shots)
SVs People queuing up for tickets (4 shots)
SVs People going in for performance (3 shots)
SV PAN Statue of Rossini
MV PAN More people entering
MV PAN Verdi statue
MV Auditorium and balconies (2 shots)
GV Opera on stage
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Background: The administrators of Milan's famous La Scala opera house and opera company are asking the Italian government for more urgent financial assistance.
Staff at the theatre still hadn't receive any wages for March on Wednesday (31 March), but on Thursday (1 April) an Italian government spokesman said that the 680 permanent staff would be paid "within a few days".
The government also voted to increase subsidies to most of Italy's major theatres -- La Scala will get the biggest grant 9,500 million lire (about 5.9 million pounds sterling).
Chief La Scala administrator, Dr. Paolo Grassi, threatened to resign last week -- and said he would take several of the theatre's top artistic and administrative staff with him -- if La Scala was not given urgent financial help.
He still maintained on Thursday that La Scala needed more money to continue even after the new grant was announced. Dr. Grassi wants a special law passed to help the theatre overcome its cash crisis.
Meanwhile, performances at La Scala continue and the box office is doing a brisk trade, as patrons of the arts add their weight to the battle for La Scala's future.
SYNOPSIS: Milan's famous La Scala opera house is facing an uncertain future because of a cash crisis. The theatre's administrators are seeking urgent government assistance despite a grant of 9,500 million lire announced on Thursday. The grant to La Scala came as part of a government decision to increase subsidies to most of Italy's major theatres.
Box office sales continue to be brisk as patrons of the arts make their contributions to La Scala's future, but administrators claim the cost of maintaining the opera company far exceeds revenue from ticket sales. Only last week, La Scala's chief administrator, Dr. Paolo Grassi, threatened to resign and take several top artistic and administrative staff members with him. At that stage, the permanent staff of 680 had received no money since the end of February. Since then, the government has assured staff members that they will be paid "within the next few days".
However, Dr. Grassi still maintains that La Scala needs more money than the government has allocated. He wants a special law passed to help the theatre through the current crisis. Meanwhile, performances go on and scheduled tours by the company will go ahead, and, for the time being, La Scala has staved off financial collapse.