Daniel Barenboim is to step down as musical director of La Scala in Milan at the beginning of 2015 – two years before his contract expires.
Stephane Lissner, superintendent of La Scala – who is himself leaving to manage Paris Opera next year – revealed Barenboim's departure at a meeting with unions, calling it ‘the end of an era’.
The 71-year-old Israeli-Argentine conductor, who joined La Scala in 2006 and was appointed musical director there in 2011, is scheduled to conduct Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte and Verdi's Simon Boccanegra at the opera house next year.
As well as being music director of the Berlin State Opera and Staatskapelle Berlin, and a conductor of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, he is also to establish an academy for young Israeli and Palestinian musicians, and an academy in Berlin.
Meanwhile, the Italian press has hotly tipped Milanese conductor Riccardo Chailly as his successor.
Chailly, who is chief conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leizpig, has enjoyed a long association with Milan’s prestigious opera house, becoming assistant conductor to Claudio Abbado at La Scala at the age of 20, and making his debut there in 1978.