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Sep 22, 2014 9:49 AM

Maestro Muti skipping strike-plagued Rome theater

The Associated Press

ROME (AP) Riccardo Muti has declined to conduct performances this season at Rome's strike-plagued Teatro dell'Opera.

The theater was scrambling Monday to find prestigious replacements for the Italian maestro, who is the opera house's honorary lifetime director. Muti was expected to conduct Verdi's "Aida" in November and Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" in spring 2015. Performances conducted by Muti in past seasons sold out.

But the theater has struggled with financial problems and this summer, strikes marred the theater's popular season amid the ancient ruins of Caracalla's Theater.

News reports said Muti informed theater officials of his decision with a letter this weekend citing "recent, persistent" problems, in apparent reference to labor disputes.

Union leaders issued a statement urging Muti, who directs the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, to change his mind.


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