Older Wagner daughter joins Bayreuth takeover plan

18th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

Eva Wagner-Pasquier, 63, agreed publicly to a plan to jointly take charge of the annual opera extravaganza.

Bayreuth, Germany -- Eva Wagner-Pasquier, 63, agreed publicly Friday to a plan to jointly take charge of the annual Wagner opera festival at Bayreuth, Germany, one the world's loftiest cultural extravaganzas.

Opera fans often wait a decade for their once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a single opera in the festival theatre in the small German city.

Bayreuth has become a shrine to the fantasy world of gods and heroes created by 19th century German composer Richard Wagner.

The festival management has been compared to royalty, held for life and limited to direct descendants of Wagner. The current succession has had much of the drama and passion of an opera.

The present chief, Wolfgang Wagner, 88, has yielded at last to years of treaties to "abdicate." This month he anointed his beloved daughter Katharina, 29, and formerly estranged daughter, Eva, to take over in tandem.

Wagner-Pasquier, who is currently artistic adviser to a French arts festival at Aix-en-Provence and has shrouded herself in silence all week, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa she had agreed to the proposal.

She said the decision came after she was begged by German federal and Bavarian state officials. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a genuine opera fan, attends the festival opening night every year.

"After long consideration, and for both personal and logical reasons, I will not rebuff this plea," said Wagner-Pasquier, adding that she had informed Nike Wagner, 62, her cousin and former ally.

The festival board is due to meet on April 29. Wagner-Pasquier said she and the younger daughter would make a joint proposal as to how they would run the summer festival.

Wagner-Pasquier was selected seven years ago to run the festival by the board, but was vetoed by her own father, who claimed she was incompetent. He had divorced Wagner-Pasquier's mother Ellen in 1976.

Before joining the Aix festival in 1987, Wagner-Pasquier was a director at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London and a director of programming at the Bastille Opera in Paris.

She has also worked at the Teatro Real in Madrid and the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

DPA with Expatica

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