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Music director Maxim Shostakovich has finally left the New Orleans Symphony, saying he has not been paid for the last season. The conductor, son of composer Dmitri Shostakovich, expressed artistic satisfaction but disappointment at the symphony's huge deficit, making artistic goals impossible to achieve . . . Catherine Comet will leave her post as conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. She will be succeeded by Leon Botstein, principal guest conductor of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Comet has guest conducted in recent seasons for the Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago and St. Louis Symphonies.

- VIOLINIST YEHUDI MENUHIN accepted a top Israeli prize recently before parliament, and made a plea for equality for Palestinians.The 75-year-old British Jew received the 1991 Wolf Foundation Prize for Arts, which promotes science and art for the benefit of mankind.

Menuhin received a $100,000 grant with the award, which said he had brought nations together "through musical education, enlightening peoples and elevating cultural levels throughout the world."

In accepting the award, Menuhin said Israel must adopt "absolute reciprocity, absolute equality" toward the Palestinians or continue "to let yourselves be governed by this fear and violence."

- BEVERLY SILLS has joined the Metropolitan Opera as a managing director on the board of directors. Sills thus removes herself from connection with the New York City Opera, with which her name was synonymous for many years, as a singer and then general director. Sills said much of her reason for leaving was to relieve pressure on general director Christopher Keene, who she felt stood in her shadow. "I had to withdraw totally from the City Opera . . . to allow Christopher to put his imprimatur on the company," she said.

At the same meeting, Bruce Crawford was re-elected president and chief executive officer of the Met. He has a long history in management there, having been elected president in 1984, then general manager in 1985. He left in 1989 to head the Omnicom Group of advertisers but returned to the Met board of directors last year.

- SEVILLE`S MAESTRANZA THEATRE was opened on May 11 by a star-studded cast of Spanish singers, including Jose Carreras, Jaime Aragall, Teresa Berganza, Placido Domingo, Pilar Lorengar, Montserrat Caballe, and Alfred Kraus.

The new opera house has been built for Seville's Expo '92, in honor of the 500th anniversary of Columbus's voyage to the Americas. Many of the world's great orchestras, singers and conductors will perform there next year.

Seville is the city of operas; no less than 24 operas are entirely or partially set there, including Bizet's "Carmen." From the theater's main hall one can see the Maestranza bull ring, outside which Carmen met her death at the hands of Don Jose; the tobacco factory where she worked is only a half-mile away.

Other famed operas of Seville include "Don Giovanni" and "The Marriage of Figaro" by Mozart, "The Barber of Seville" by Rossini, "La Favorita" by Donizetti, "Beethoven's "Fidelio" and Verdi's "La Forze del Destino."

- THE JOFFREY BALLET will no longer be performing its annual spring engagement at the Los Angeles Music Center, after fulfilling its May engagement this year. The company's contract was terminated because it failed to face up to its deficit of $1.4 million and some $800,000 that it owes the IRS, said Center management.

- A STRADIVARIUS VIOLIN that once belonged to Czar Nicholas II has been recovered in the same northern Italian town where it was stolen from a car in 1987. The $2.6 million instrument belonging to French musician Pierre Amoyal was stolen from Amoyal's unattended car in Saluzzo, near Cuneo.

- MARTA DOMINGO, wife of tenor Placido Domingo, recently stage directed Saint-Saen's "Samson et Dalila" in Puerto Rico, with her husband singing the lead. A soprano in her own right, she married the tenor in 1962, and they began their professional careers singing for the Israeli Opera. They have two sons, young Placido, now 25, and Alvaro, 22, both pursuing careers in the arts.

- THE ARTS HAVE LOST: Edward Stierle, rising apprentice choreographer with the Joffrey Ballet, died from AIDS, only three days after his fourth and last ballet premiered in New York. He was 23. . . . Louis Guglielmi, who under the pseudonym Louisguy composed "La Vie en Rose" of Edith Piaf fame, died at 75 in Paris. Others noted for their rendition of the song were Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker . . . Jean Guelis, French dancer and choreographer who danced at the Metropolitan Opera, following heart surgery, in Paris, at 67. . . . composer Elinor Remick Warren, 91, in Los Angeles, of cancer. She wrote more than 200 musical works for orchestra and voice in a career spanning 75 years.

- THE 34TH FESTIVAL of the Two Worlds will run June 26-July 14 in Spoleto, Italy, featuring the first European performance of "Goya" by its founder, Gian Carlo Menotti. He will also observe his 80th birthday then.