HAVE GERMAN WILL TRAVEL FEST
"Bei uns ist immer was los!"
German Cultural Great Wolfgang Wagner Dies
Mar 22, 2010
Wolfgang Wagner, seen here in a The Festspielhaus ranks among the photograph from November 2009, led opera houses with the world's best the Bayreuth Festival for 57 yea~ acoustics.
The longtime director of t he Bayreuth Festival, Wolfgang Wagner, has died at the age of 90. With his passing, Germany loses one of its most well-known cultural personalities.
For more than half a century, Wagner directed the internationally renowned Bayreuth Festival. Born August 30, 1919, Wagner was the grandson of 19th century composer Richard Wagner and great grandson of virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt.
During the Second World War, Wagner completed a private music study and worked as an assistant director at the Staatsoper Berlin. From 1951 onwards, he, along with his brother Wieland, led the Bayreuth Festival founded after the war.
Two years later, the Oper Lohengrin was his first of twelve performances at the green hill in Bayreuth. He would appear at guest performances in Rome, Venice, Palermo, Milan, Dresden, Taormina and Tokyo. After the early death of his brother in October 1966, he worked for more than four decades as the festival's only director.
The end of an era
I n 1976, Wagner divorced his first wife and married his long-time assistant Gudrun Mack. Her unexpected death in November 2007 saw Wagner's two daughters, half-sisters Eva Wagner-Pasquier (64) and 31-year-old Katharina Wagner take over the reigns of t he festival in September 2008.
Wolfgang Wagner stabilized the Festival in difficult times. He was able to acquire major talents like Patrice Chereau for the "Jahrhundertring" in 1976, Gotz Friedrich (Tannhauser) and Christoph Schlingensief (Parsifal). Under his leadership, more than 1,700 performances took place at the specially designed theater, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus.
The festival spokesman Peter Emmerich said that the death of Wolfgang Wagner has deeply affected all of those working with the festival. "An era has ended," he said in a statement. "One can only bow in humility before his. life's work and his incredible personality." The chairman of the Richard Wagner Foundation, Toni Schmid said Wagner preserved the work of his grandfather for generations. "His energy, his creativity and not least his sense of humor impressed us all over and over again and will be a lasting influence."
Wagner died peacefully while sleeping in his Bayreuth home. The family will bury him in a private ceremony. There will also be an official commemorat ion.