Vienna Boys' Choir confident of solving rent crisis

11 September 2013

VIENNA (Reuters) - The world-famous Vienna Boys' Choir is confident of solving a crisis over the rent for its concert hall and school that it had feared could put it out of business, it said on Wednesday.

The choir, whose roots go back to the 13th century, is a cultural icon and tourist draw for the Austrian capital, and reaches live audiences of about half a million every year.

It had faced a 200,000 euro ($265,300) annual bill after the Austrian Court of Audit said its agreement to use the Augarten Palace rent-free amounted to an illegal subsidy.

But a spokeswoman for the private, non-profit choir said negotiations with politicians over the issue now seemed likely to succeed.

"It looks as if a solution will be found," she wrote in an email. "There appear to be two possibilities, but the legal side needs to be cleared first. We might be exempt from paying rent, or we might receive a government grant to cover the costs."

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by Ron Askew)

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