Wolfgang Wagner gives blessing to two-daughter succession

17th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

The festival in Germany has always been run by descendants of 19th century German opera great Richard Wagner.

Bayreuth, Germany -- Aging Bayreuth opera festival chief Wolfgang Wagner has given his blessing to his two daughters jointly taking over the family-run annual event, according to a letter obtained Tuesday.

As speculations swirls over the future of the Wagner opera festival, director for life Wagner, 88, wrote to the festival board saying he would welcome joint leadership by Eva Wagner-Pasquier, 63, and Katharina Wagner, 29.

The younger daughter announced last week that she was seeking an accord with her formerly estranged half-sister, who was once denounced as "incompetent" by father Wagner. Eva has not yet said in public if she will accept the proposal.

The festival in Germany has always been run by descendants of 19th century German opera great Richard Wagner.

The April 8 letter obtained by DPA contained no commitment by the father to resign by a certain date, saying only that he would be "prepared to hand over the festival leadership at an appropriate date to be chosen by me."

He said he primarily supported a proposal by Katharina to take over the festival in partnership with the conductor Christian Thielemann and an operatic manager, Peter Ruzicka.

The board, which runs the festival but cannot fire the father, has been hostile to that proposal.

The elder Wagner described the two-daughter option as "another variant" based on his daughters having "got to know one another better" in recent months. Appointing them joint festival directors would be "extremely future oriented and welcome."

Festival officials have said a third proposal involving Nike Wagner, daughter of Wolfgang's late brother Wieland, stands no chance of adoption because of Wolfgang's opposition to her.

DPA

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