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La Scala conductor joins protests against spending cuts

8 December 2010 Last updated at 06:52 GMT

A highlight of the Italian social and cultural calendar, the gala opening of La Scala in Milan, has been overshadowed by protests against public spending cuts.

Demonstrators and riot police clashed outside, while principal guest conductor Daniel Barenboim warned against cutting funding for the arts before the performance inside.

Duncan Kennedy reports.