Gudrun Wagner, force behind Bayreuth Festival, dies

28th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

28 November 2007, Bayreuth, Germany (dpa) - Gudrun Wagner, wife of Bayreuth Festival Director Wolfgang and considered the driving force behind the famous musical event, died Wednesday aged 63 in a clinic in the city. Wagner had undergone an operation a few days ago, a spokeswoman for the festival said, adding that the operation had apparently been successful. "We are all shocked," she said. Wolfgang Wagner, 88, issued a statement saying that he had been "deeply affected" by the death of his "loving wife an

28 November 2007

Bayreuth, Germany (dpa) - Gudrun Wagner, wife of Bayreuth Festival Director Wolfgang and considered the driving force behind the famous musical event, died Wednesday aged 63 in a clinic in the city.

Wagner had undergone an operation a few days ago, a spokeswoman for the festival said, adding that the operation had apparently been successful.

"We are all shocked," she said.

Wolfgang Wagner, 88, issued a statement saying that he had been "deeply affected" by the death of his "loving wife and closest colleague."

The couple married in 1976 after Wolfgang had divorced his first wife, Ellen Drexel.

In 1978, their daughter Katharina was born. She is currently bidding to take over the festival from her father.

While Gudrun Wagner always stayed in the background, saying that her husband "took all the decisions," she was widely regarded as the one who controlled the festival from behind the scenes.

She came originally to the festival dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner (1813-83) in the 1960s to use her foreign language skills in the press office.

Earlier this year Katharina, who is the great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner, declared her aim to run the festival along with Bayreuth conductor Christian Thielemann.

Wagner, 29, a director who made her debut at this year's festival with her controversial staging of The Master Singers of Nuremberg, said she planned to join forces with the 48-year-old principal conductor of the Munich Philharmonic.

Other members of the Wagner family, which is divided on artistic and political grounds over the festival's future, are also interested in the position, which is for life.

DPA

Subject: German news

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