The appointment of Alexander Pereira, the new sovrintendente of La Scala, will start in October 2014 not 2015 as was initially expected.
Pereira, who was born in Vienna, is at present the artistic director of the Salzburg Festival and had a contract there until 2016. He was planning to hold both positions for a year but Salzburg decided otherwise, announcing that it would end his contract in September 2014.
La Scala’s present sovrintendente, Stéphane Lissner, who took over from Riccardo Muti about ten years ago, is pleased with the new timing as it releases him for his new role as general director at the Opera National de Paris in 2015.
It also means that Pereira will be well into his role by the time World Fair Expo Milan 2015 opens in May 2015. La Scala opera is certain to be a crowd puller for the 20 million people Milan hopes will visit Expo 2015.
Before becoming the artistic director of the Salisburg Festival Pereira headed the Zurich opera house. Previous to that he worked for 12 years with Olivetti and he also has experience in the tourist industry.
Pereira already commutes to Milan because his young Brazilian wife, the model Daniela Weisser de Sosa, is studying fashion there.
In a recent interview with Italian state television Pereira emphasised the need for a more aggressive fund raising role as one of his priorities when he joins La Scala. He pointed out that at a time when state funding is getting ever tighter new private sponsorship is vital to the well being of the opera house.
This will endear him to the city’s mayor Giuliano Pisapia, as will the fact that he has accepted a salary that is 25 per cent below that of his predecessor.
Pereira has proved to be more adventurous than expected at Salzburg, attracting a younger audience and younger singers. In Zurich he made his name with classical opera and contemporary productions.