Tuesday, April 15, 2008

News from Bayreuth

This week two news items came out of Bayreuth. The first was that after 57 years, Wolfgang Wagner would be leaving the leadership of the Bayreuth Festival. Since the historic re-opening of the Festival in 1951, Wolfgang Wagner has been at the helm of the Festival. The second bit of news involved the replacement of a singer for this summer's festival. Soprano Linda Watson will be replaced by Adrienne Dugger in the role of Brünnhilde. Here is how The New York Times reported the change of leadership at the Festspielhaus:

After 57 years as chief of the Wagner festival in Bayreuth, Germany, Wolfgang Wagner, 88, plans to step down, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Wagner, right, grandson of the composer Richard Wagner, wrote to donors on April 8 to express his support for his daughters Katharina Wagner, from his second marriage, and Eva Wagner-Pasquier, from his first, as part of a group to succeed him. He had previously rejected the appointment of Ms. Wagner-Pasquier, who is supported by the Richard Wagner Foundation, which supervises the annual Bayreuth Festival. And he had insisted that he would step aside only if Katharina were allowed to succeed him. The German-language television network 3sat reported that Mr. Wagner had suggested that the half-sisters could be part of a team that included the German conductor Christian Thielemann and Peter Ruzicka, the former director of the Salzburg Festival. Mr. Wagner has led the festival since 1951, first with his brother, Wieland, and then by himself after Wieland’s death in 1966.

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