Daniel Barenboim is to step down as musical director of the Teatro alla Scala early in 2015, two years before his contract expires.
Announcing the change, opera-house superintendent Stéfane Lissner called it “the end of an era”.
The 70-year-old Israeli-Argentinian conductor joined La Scala in 2006 as principal guest conductor, and was appointed musical director in 2011. Before leaving, he will inaugurate the season 2014-15 with Beethoven’s Fidelio. Other works he will conduct while still at La Scala include Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte and Verdi's Simon Boccanegra.
He will continue to direct the West-Eastern Divan, a project to bring together young classical musicians from Israel, the Palestinian occupied territories and Arab countries to promote understanding, which he set up together with Edward Said in 1999. His other projects include an academy for Israeli and Palestinian musicians, and an academy for young musicians in Berlin.
Lissner will also leave La Scala, in 2014, for a post with the Paris Opéra, and will be succeeded by Alexander Pereira, who is currently artistic director of the Salzburg Festival. Pereira has indicated that he would like to have an Italian as musical director, and rumours in the Italian media have suggested he might choose Milan conductor Riccardo Chailly.