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Culture

Berlin Staatsoper Director Quits in Funding Spat

The head of Berlin's famous Staatsoper, Peter Mussbach has quit his job after a disagreement over funding and artistic programming.

Staatsoper in Berlin

The opera house on Unter den Linden in Berlin is badly in need of restoration

Mussbach's contract as general manager of one of the world's most prestigious opera houses was not due to expire until 2010.

Due to a dispute over funding and artistic differences, the 59-year-old was released on Thursday, May 15, "by common consent" and "with immediate effect," according to a statement.

No successor has been named to replace Mussbach, who assumed the position in 2003.

Musical director Daniel Barenboim told German news agency DPA that the opera's recent sold-out Pentecost festival, which consisted of eight operas and concerts, was proof of the Staatsoper's continued high quality. He added that the organization's internal problems shouldn't have been made public.

Irresolvable differences

Daniel Barenboim conducting

Daniel Barenboim is set to announce the opera's upcoming program

At the end of April, Mussbach had announced that he was unable to present a viable artistic budget due to disagreements over how to spend the extra 10 million euros ($15.5 million) injected by the city state of Berlin.

The money from Berlin was intended to help make up for losses incurred during the renovation of the opera house on Unter den Linden, slated to begin in 2010.

While Mussbach had wanted more money for opera productions, Barenboim preferred to invest in the Staatskapelle orchestra. Mussbach's departure effectively resolves the conflict.

Barenboim is set to announce the program for the 2008-2009 season on Friday in an annual press conference.

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