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Yank’s Name on Opera House Angers

August 6, 1999

LONDON (AP) _ Arts purists have attacked a plan to let an American’s name be emblazoned on the refurbished Royal Opera House in return for a $16 million donation, a newspaper reported Friday.

``This sounds like a rather tacky American idea,″ classical music promoter Raymond Gubbay was quoted as saying in The Independent. ``It’s not very nice to see a state-run company doing this.″

Devised by the Royal Opera House’s new American chief executive, Michael Kaiser, the plan would allow the unidentified donor’s name to proceed that of Floral Hall, the public foyer and showpiece of the theater’s new $340 million renovation.

The Royal Opera House, home to the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet companies, is scheduled to reopen in December.

If the deal goes ahead, it will be the first time one of the major government-subsidized arts companies has an individual’s name on the outside of the building.

The idea is sure to bring more unwanted controversy to the beleaguered institution, which has grappled with major financial difficulties, mass resignations and government criticism.

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