Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 18:03 UK

Wagner's grandson to stand down

Wolfgang Wagner
Wagner took over the festival with his brother Wieland in 1951

Richard Wagner's grandson Wolfgang has announced he is to retire as director of Germany's Bayreuth opera festival.

The announcement follows a long-running and acrimonious campaign to unseat him as the head of the annual festival held in the composer's honour.

"For 59 years I have been responsible for the Bayreuth Festival," said the 88-year-old in a letter read out after a meeting of its board of directors.

"Now the time has come to give up that responsibility," he continued.

"I hereby declare that I will abdicate the position of director for the festival by 31 August."

Joint directorship

It is not known who will replace Wagner, although his daughters Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier have handed in a proposal for their joint directorship.

The first Bayreuth Festival, directed by Richard Wagner himself, was held in 1876.

Wolfgang Wagner took over the festival with his brother Wieland in 1951.

Wolfgang has been in sole charge of the event since 1967.




SEE ALSO
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