Minister lashes out at soprano

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday lashed out at a prominent Greek soprano who appealed for the government to honor its pledge to replace the small, rented Athens opera house with a new building. Speaking at a press conference in the morning, singer Vasso Papantoniou accused Venizelos of fobbing off the Greek National Opera with «vague promises» while at the same time doing all within his power to promote the Athens Concert Hall, which was built in 1991 with part-state funding and whose moving force is publisher Christos Lambrakis. «While we were expecting something to start in relation with the [new] opera building, Mr Venizelos came and announced plans for branches of the Athens Concert Hall (Megaro) in Cyprus and elsewhere,» Papantoniou said. «It is a case of Megaro qua! Megaro la!» Papantoniou said Venizelos had promised a new opera house two years ago, but had done nothing since. «The National Opera does not need self-appointed protectors,» Venizelos retorted, saying he proposed «to finally solve the problem.»

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