Half-Sister Duo to Direct Bayreuth
The favorites have won: Katharina Wagner and her half-sister Eva Wagner-Pasquier will replace their father Wolfgang as directors of the Bayreuth Festival. The choice ends a long fight over who should take over leadership of the festival.
The Bayreuth Festival board named Katharina Wagner and her half-sister Eva Wagner-Pasquier as new co-directors of the Bayreuth festival Monday. The decision will silence an extended quarrel over who should replace their aging father, Wolfgang Wagner, as head of the world-famous opera festival.
Wolfgang, composer Richard Wagner's grandson, stepped down this year after directing the event since 1951. But agreeing on his successor had proven far from simple. The 89-year-old Wolfgang favored his 30-year-old daughter from his second marriage, Katharina, as his replacement -- even over Wagner-Pasquier, Katharina's older and more experienced half-sister. Wagner-Pasquier for her part originally applied to lead the festival together with Wagner's niece, Nike. But the duo broke up in 2007 and Wagner-Pasquier threw her hat into the ring this year with Katharina.
Last week, though, Nike Wagner re-entered the race, partnered with well-known Belgian director Gérard Mortier. After the decision, Nike said she hoped her cousins would "welcome suggestions" from Mortier, set to take over the New York City opera, and herself. Nike wished them "every success," according to DPA.
Wagner-Pasquier has long been seen as a likely successor to head up the Bayreuth Festival. She is Wolfgang Wagner's daughter from his first marriage and she had the support of the Bayreuth Festival board in 2001 when it encouraged Wolfgang Wagner to step down. He refused, but he changed his mind after
his second wife Gudrun died in November.
Wagner-Pasquier is currently an artistic consultant at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France as well as the Metropolitan Opera. She emphasized "responsible handling of financial resources,"according to DPA. Katharina has expressed interest in productions especially designed for young audiences. Unlike their father, the two will not have a lifelong contract to lead the festival.