"Bei uns ist immer was los!"

Bayreuther Festspiele / Richard Festival (annual month-long summer music festival held in Bavarian town of Bayreuth from end of July to end of August)

German Cultural Great 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 for 57 yea~ acoustics.

The longtime director of t he Bayreuth Festival, Wolfgang Wagner, has died at the age of 90. With his passing, 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 and great grandson of virtuoso pianist .

During the Second World War, Wagner completed a private music study and worked as an assistant director at the Staatsoper . From 1951 onwards, he, along with his brother Wieland, led the Bayreuth Festival founded after the war.

Two years later, the Oper was his first of twelve performances at the green hill in Bayreuth. He would appear at guest performances in Rome, Venice, Palermo, Milan, , 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 Mack. Her unexpected death in November 2007 saw Wagner's two daughters, half-sisters Eva Wagner-Pasquier (64) and 31-year-old 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 "" in 1976, Gotz Friedrich (Tannhauser) and (). Under his leadership, more than 1,700 performances took place at the specially designed theater, the .

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.