Tax Trouble

There were fears that the Orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino would cancel the subsequent Mumbai leg of its Asian tour, though it had nothing to do with radiation from Japan.

Mumbai is the birthplace of the orchestra’s conductor, Zubin Mehta. The orchestra, which he has been associated with since the 1980s, was set to play two charity shows in the city for the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation.

The foundation challenged the government’s steep entertainment tax, saying that because the concerts were nonprofit in nature the tax should be waived. However, in early March the Bombay High Court refused the foundation’s request to waive the tax.

“Taxes for popular rock ’n’ roll concerts in stadiums make more sense because they make a clear profit,” Mehta commented to the Times of India over the phone from Taiwan. “But we have just 1,200 people in the audience and sponsors who all ask for free tickets, so there’s no logic. It’s very aggravating and frustrating.”

Nevertheless, Mehta decided to go ahead with the Mumbai concerts. Mehta left Mumbai 57 years ago.