Italy's La Scala to run academy for Saudi girls and boys

MILAN — The academy of Italy's premier opera house, Teatro alla Scala, has agreed to start a conservatory for both girls and boys in Saudi Arabia.

The decision Tuesday by the academy's board follows the opera house's refusal to accept 15 million euros ($16.8 billion) in funding from the kingdom amid concerns over its human rights record.

For three years beginning in September, La Scala's academy will run a conservatory for 600 6- to 10-year-olds in dance, choir and instrumental music, as well as a workshop on marketing and digital communications. It will be funded by the Saudi culture ministry.

Despite refusing Saudi funding for the opera house, Milan's mayor did not rule out future dealings with Saudi Arabia and confirmed a concert tour would go on as scheduled next fall.

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