The Italian government have approved a salary cap for employees of operatic and orchestral institutions, effective immediately. Nobody will be allowed to earn more than the President of the Supreme Court, currently €240,000. The cap, already in place in Italian theatres, applies to "members of the administration, management and control" and "employees, consultants and collaborators".
Pereira's agreed La Scala salary has been estimated as €460,000, meaning he will now take home roughly half of what he was originally promised. The cut will also hit Maria di Freda, General Manager of La Scala, though less severely - she's currently on €270,000. The Italian press don't mention any other affected individuals, and my own earlier research suggests that few other establishments pay as generously as La Scala. Despite the decree's generalised wording, it's not hard to interpret it as a political device targetting one institution and punishing one individual.
Whether Pereira could legally circumvent the restriction, tax-dodger style, by taking some of the lost pay as, say, 'expenses' remains to be seen. Whether La Scala would want to take part in that sort of arrangement is questionable though. They may welcome the opportunity to save a bit of money too.
When his contract chop was announced, Pereira came out fighting, determined to prove it should be extended. With only half the original pay in prospect, will he be so willing to stay?
Previous awards have tended to favour composers - Lutoslawski, Stockhausen, Reich, Xenakis, Boulez, Ligeti and Saariaho are amongst those honoured - although singers like Renee Fleming and conductors like Gergiev and Harnoncourt have also got a look-in.
However the bog-brush haired ex-iconoclast is not the first non-musician to pick up the prize. José Antonio Abreu & El Sistema added it to their gong collection in 2009, and the very first award, in 1992, was made to "the Baltic States" - yes, all of them.
Although long retired from the operatic circuit, the living legend participated in several concerts in 2010, and made recordings too. The prosecution believes that the resulting income was passed through an Andorran company to avoid paying income tax in Spain.
The lawsuit also notes that Caballé usually lives at her Barcelona home, even though she is officially a resident of Andorra.
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra were today announced as the third-ever winners of the $1m Birgit Nilsson prize. In case you're thinking that sounds a lot, it only works out at about £4,000 per player - and it's more likely to be put towards educational or social work in any case.