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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Wagner's descendant wins festival post
Richard Wagner
Wagner's great-granddaughter takes over in 2004
The great-granddaughter of celebrated composer Richard Wagner has won the long-running battle to direct the Weimer Music Festival for at least three seasons.

Nike Wagner will take over the German festival's direction in 2004, said the event's organisers on Tuesday.

The 57-year-old's appointment has been described as an "extraordinary opportunity" by Vokhard Knigge, director of the Weimar Klassik foundation, which organises the event.

The announcement comes as the future of the festival hangs in the balance.

Funding fears

The city is considering whether to continue subsidising the event.

Vokhard Knigge has sent an open letter calling on local leaders not to damage the "national and international reputation of the city".

Ms Wagner, a former culture minister in the Hamburg regional government, was also considered in 1999 to take over the Bayreuth festival, which showcases her great-grandfather's works.

Wolfgang Wagner, the 82-year-old grandson of Richard Wagner, had been the Bayreuth festival's organiser since 1973.

Meanwhile the Richard Wagner Foundation is expected to decide this autumn who will replace the composer's grandson.

In addition to Nike, Wolfgang's two daughters Ewa Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina have been suggested as contenders.

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