With rumors flying that Barenboim would succeed Muti, and a press conference scheduled for Monday, May 15, at La Scala, the Times' Daniel Wakin put the question directly to the opera house's spokesman, Carlo Maria Cella.
Barenboim will have a "continuous and important" role, Cella said, but denied that he would have the same position as Muti, a powerful figure at the opera house for 19 years until he resigned last year during a labor crisis.
A spokesperson for the Berlin State Opera, where Barenboim is music director, told the Times that Barenboim's post at La Scala will be part of a larger relationship between the two houses. "We're going to plan some musical and institutional partnerships, talking about productions and planning some productions together," she said.
Peter Mussbach, the Intendant of the Berlin State Opera, will be present at the La Scala press conference on May 15.
Barenboim, who steps down as music director of the Chicago Symphony next month, visited La Scala in December for a Christmas concert. His performance and the rapturous reception he received set off a round of rumors that he would replace Muti, and the speculation increased when the conductor, asked about the possibility, said only, "We'll see."
Cella confirmed that the performance had prompted La Scala to offer Barenboim a position. "The orchestra was very impressed, and in time discussions began," he told the Times.