Royal Opera House Removes Vilar's Name From Atrium

Classic Arts News   Royal Opera House Removes Vilar's Name From Atrium
The Royal Opera House has removed the name of philanthropist Alberto Vilar from its Floral Hall atrium, citing Vilar's failure to deliver on a Ô£10 million pledge.

Vilar, whose high-tech Amerindo Fund lost much of its value at the end of the Internet boom of the 1990s, has been unable to fulfill his commitments to a number of leading arts organizations. More recently, he was charged with stealing $5 million from an investment client.

The Floral Hall, a former flower market, was turned into a spectacular arched event space as part of the opera house's Ô£214 million renovation in the 1990s and renamed the Vilar Floral Hall in honor of the philanthropist. In the years since, according to a statement, "the Royal Opera House...renegotiated Mr. Vilar's schedule of payments on several occasions; however, he consistently failed to reach these new deadlines and in doing so was in breach of all agreements."

In July, the ROH announced that it would sever its agreement with Vilar if he did not resume payments within 60 days.

"The 60 days has lapsed, and we have received no communication from Mr.Vilar," chief executive Tony Hall said. "Therefore the Vilar Floral Hall will revert to being known as the Floral Hall. We will cease to use Mr. Vilar's name on printed material and programs, and the signage in the public areas will be altered over the next few months in no particular order or time-scale."

Hall noted that Vilar's name would remain on the opera house's Donor and Benefactors Board, in recognition of the Ô£4.4 million that he did deliver.

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