[UPDATE] Davide Livermore Replaces Helga Schmidt as Art Director of the Palau de les Arts in Valencia After Suspension and Arrest

By Jaime Prisco on Jan 27, 2015 01:01 PM EST

Helga Schmidt, the former art director of The Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Spain, who was suspended, arrested and released after financial irregularities appeared at the opera house, has been replaced. Davide Livermore, head of the Teatro Baretti in Turin, Italy, has been named the new art director.

Livermore is a stage director, singer, teacher and actor who had a short singing career before working as an opera director. His appointment comes as no surprise, since he is currently the art director of the Centro de Perfeccionamiento Plácido Domingo at the Palau de les Arts. In a press conference, Livermore said he hopes to open the opera house up to the city with the possibility of lowering ticket prices.

Schmidt’s arrest came as a surprise to many, especially when the former head of administration of the organization, Ernesto Moreno, was also arrested. Schmidt, who took up the post 15 years ago, was due to retire in 2006 but was suspended hours before reports of the financial situation got out.

Schmidt has long been criticized for her lavish spending habits, especially on her lodging and travel expenses. Last December, she came under fire after it was found out she had spent 391,000 euros on traveling and dining expenses between 2005 and 2011. In 2009 alone, it was reported that she had spent more than 2,000 euros a week on these kind of extravagances. The money was not only spent on herself but also on expensive artists like Lorin Maazel, Plácido Domingo and Zubin Mehta.

Schmidt was not only taking advantage of Palau de les Arts's money, but she has also been accused of manipulating contracts and accepting commissions on artists she hired for the opera house.

While working at the opera house, she also held a post in Patrocini de les Arts, which many considered to be a conflict of interest, where she received commissions of up to 508,000 euros. Schmidt and Moreno have also been accused of using their status to give contracts to personal acquaintances rather than the most deserving applicants.

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TagsUPDATE, Davide Livermore, Helga Schmidt, Art Director, Palau de les Arts, Valencia, Suspension, Arrest

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