After a long break, the docu-soap on the leadership to the Bayreuth Festival seems to continue.
Festival Manager (and grandson to Richard Wagner) the 88-year old (and ailing, judged on the photographs from his wife´s funeral last year) Wolfgang Wagner has now for the first time hinted that he might retire as head of the Festival. He suggests a joint leadership consisting of his two daughters Katharina Wagner (29) and Eva Wagner-Pasquier (63).
In contrast to previous reports from the two ladies, in which they strongly denied any possibility of teaming up for the Festival leadership, they now state that cooperation may be possible "under certain circumstances". In this leadership structure there may still be room for both German star-conductor Christian Thielemann and ex-Salzburg Festival Intendant Peter Ruzicka. Apparently Wolfgang Wagner has presented this suggestion to the State of Bavaria, who, through Minister of Culture and Science Thomas Goppel, in a letter to Wolfgang Wagner has supported the suggestion (according to Katharina Wagner).
Peter Ruzicka comments: "I think this is the best solution. The two ladies may start immediately. I will then concentrate on composing and look forward to receive honorary tickets for the Festival productions".
This is surprising news indeed, and I may only interpret it as a combination of 1) that Wolfgang Wagner is indeed not capable of continuing to run the Festival, 2) that Wolfgang Wagner is unsure whether the Katharina Wagner-Christian Thielemann-Peter Ruzicka bill may gain sufficient support at the Board Meeting, 3) that Eva Wagner-Pasquier is equally unsure of her own victory, and (maybe most importantly) 4) that the Board are working on options that completely exclude the Wagner Family from Future Festival leadership.
So in order to keep the business "in the family", this is the secure option. And it looks like a winning ticket, indeed. But, as events during the last year have shown, nothing is certain, and new players may emerge at any time.
The meeting of the Board of Directors to (allegedly) decide on future Festival leadership will take place on the 29th of April. At this meeting it appears that Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier will present their visions for the future of the Bayreuth Festival.
Die Welt, Spiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Kurier, Abendzeitung (all in German). Also covered at Sounds and Fury (in English).