Katharina Wagner: New Bayreuth chief?

30th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

30 May 2007, Munich (dpa) - With two months to go before a make-or-break opera debut, the family of Katherina Wagner, 29, this week stepped up a campaign for her to take over the Bayreuth opera festival. Wagner affirmed last week in a news interview that she was ready to take charge of the summer festival, an annual magnet for the world's music lovers which was founded by her great-grandfather, the operatic composer Richard Wagner. When the curtain goes up July 25 on her production of the Meistersinger, or

30 May 2007

Munich (dpa) - With two months to go before a make-or-break opera debut, the family of Katherina Wagner, 29, this week stepped up a campaign for her to take over the Bayreuth opera festival.

Wagner affirmed last week in a news interview that she was ready to take charge of the summer festival, an annual magnet for the world's music lovers which was founded by her great-grandfather, the operatic composer Richard Wagner.

When the curtain goes up July 25 on her production of the Meistersinger, or Master Singers of Nuremberg, her own mastery - of theatrical direction - faces the ultimate test: from the audience and critics.

Her mother, Gudrun Wagner, 62, said in an interview published Wednesday by the German weekly Bunte: "A Wagner always runs Bayreuth. Not keeping it in the family would mean unnecessarily abandoning something that exists nowhere else in the world."

Katherina's father, Wolfgang Wagner, 87, is current head of the festival, and according to his wife can only walk with difficulty because of arthritis. She said he had a lifetime contract with the festival and only he could terminate it.

Several years ago the director failed in a bid to install his wife, who is widely seen as the power behind the throne at the festival, as his successor.

If the audience of Wagner lovers accept the daughter's first Bayreuth production in July, her succession is seen as certain.

Gudrun Wagner said in the interview that her daughter was "a very able artist and cultural manager who knows the ropes."

Another great-granddaughter, Nike Wagner, 61, has repeatedly voiced a desire to take over the "family business." She is the daughter of Wieland Wagner, the late brother of Wolfgang Wagner.

Katharina Wagner told the Munich newspaper Muenchner Merkur last week: "If the shareholders agree and I am satisfied at the terms, I would be ready to take over." She said she would not be happy to share the leadership in a team arrangement.

"If there weren't any Wagners suitable for the job, Bayreuth just would not work," she added.

DPA

Subject: German news

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