Bayreuth Festival to Be Handed Over to Two Wagner Daughters | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 12.04.2008
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Bayreuth Festival to Be Handed Over to Two Wagner Daughters

The 88-year-old grandson of composer Richard Wagner, who heads the annual Bayreuth opera festival, is ready to retire. Surprisingly, it looks like his feuding daughters will co-direct the legendary event.

Wolfgang Wagner

Wagner has headed his grandfather's festival for over half a century

For years, it seemed like aging Wolfgang Wagner would never step down and that his two daughters, Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier, would never mend fences with each other. But things can change.

Wagner's spokesman Peter Emmerich, however, confirmed that the director-for-life had this week submitted a letter expressing his intention to retire to the board of the Bayreuth Festival.

Emmerich also said that Wagner could now imagine a co-directorship involving both daughters. Previously, he had categorically rejected appointing Eva Wagner-Pasquier, 63, his daughter with his first wife.

Sisters make up

Katharina Wagner

Katharina Wagner

The half-sisters have been called on by both the festival board and Thomas Goppel, Bavaria's minister for science, research and the arts, to devise a joint proposal for the future of the festival as soon as possible.

It's well known that the two have not been on good terms, but Emmerich said the two have become closer since Katharina's mother Gudrun Wagner passed away last fall, reported the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Eva Wagner-Pasquier

Eva Wagner-Pasquier

Founded in 1876 by Richard Wagner, the festival has become an opera spectacle of legendary proportions and the performances are sold out years in advance.

Wolfgang Wagner has directed the event since 1951. Katharina Wagner, 29, was booed when made her directing debut in Bayreuth last year with a production of "The Mastersingers of Nuremberg."

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