Bayreuth Festival Director Wolfgang Wagner to retire

30th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

The director of the famous Bayreuth Festival, celebrating the music of German composer Wagner, is to retire in summer having led the event since 1951.

Bayreuth, Germany -- Wolfgang Wagner, the director of the Bayreuth Festival, is to retire at the end of August this year.

Wagner, who turns 89 on August 30, has headed the renowned festival celebrating the music of his grandfather, Richard Wagner, since 1951.

He agreed earlier this month to hand over control of the festival to two daughters from separate marriages, Eva Wagner-Pasquier, 63, and Katharina, 29.

The Festival Council, which contains representatives of the federal and Bavarian state government, has indicated it will agree to the plan.

"This will retain the festival's capacity to act," Bavarian Culture Minister Thomas Goppel said in Bayreuth.

The elder Wagner had come under considerable pressure from the council over recent months to yield to the younger Wagner generation.

As long ago as 2001, the council chose Eva Wagner-Pasquier as his successor, but the director refused to vacate his position, as he had fallen out with his eldest daughter.

Wolfgang Wagner's plan to have his second wife, Gudrun, the mother of Katharina, take over was rejected by the festival council.

The situation changed when Gudrun died at the age of 63 in November last year, leading Wagner to put forward his two daughters earlier this month.

Wagner initially ran the festival with his elder brother, Wieland, until Wieland died in 1966.

He is credited with stabilizing the festival's financial position, refurbishing the opera house and drawing top musical directors.


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