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Wednesday, 18 July, 2001, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Wagner clan battles over festival post
Richard Wagner
The Wagner festival dates back 125 years
The great grand daughter of celebrated composer Richard Wagner has said she wants to head the Richard Wagner Festival.

Nike Wagner and Klaus Zehelein, director of the Stuttgart State Opera, will both apply to be co-directors of the Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, according to a report on Bavarian radio.

The announcement follows vicious infighting among the Wagner clan. Nike Wagner's cousin Eva-Pasquier Wagner rejected the position after a dispute with her father.

Infighting

The cousin was originally chosen to direct the festival but recently decided that she no longer wanted the post.

Eva-Pasquier Wagner said she would do it only if the current director - her estranged father Wolfgang Wagner - stepped down.

Wolfgang Wagner, the grandson of Richard Wagner, has been festival organiser since 1973 and backed his wife Gudrun as his eventual successor.

After the board of the foundation that oversees the festival named his daughter as his replacement, he said that he would not leave without a fuss.

Nike Wagner previously applied for the position in tandem with Elmar Weingarten, director of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim: conducted Wagner in Israel
She is known for her unconventional opera productions, as is Zehelein. Despite that, the Stuttgart opera has been elected Opera House of the Year three times under his direction.

The Richard Wagner Festival is held in Bayreuth, Bavaria on an annual basis. It celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, running from 25 July to 28 August.

There was recent controversy surrounding the performance of Wagner's operas in Israel. Wagner was Adolf Hitler's favourite composer and inspired Nazi cultural propaganda.

There has always been a decades-old unwritten ban on his music being played in Israel.

Prestigious conductor Daniel Barenboim recently broke that taboo by conducting a piece by Richard Wagner at the annual Israel Festival.

See also:

07 Jun 98 | Middle East
Tel Aviv opera drops plans for Wagner
08 Jul 01 | Arts
Barenboim breaks Wagner taboo
30 May 01 | Arts
Protests stop Wagner concert
27 Oct 00 | Middle East
Israeli orchestra breaks Wagner taboo
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