Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 18:24 UK

Daughters chosen to run Bayreuth

Wolfgang Wagner
Wolfgang Wagner bid farewell to the event last week

The daughters of outgoing Bayreuth Festival director Wolfgang Wagner have been chosen to run the German opera event after his 57 years at the helm.

Half sisters Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier - great-granddaughters of the composer Richard Wagner - were named by Bavaria's culture minister.

There had been a long-running battle over who would run the festival.

Mr Wagner, 89, stepped down last week at the end of this year's event and had given his approval to the partnership.

'Future and continuity'

In 2001, he refused to step down in favour of Eva, his 63-year-old daughter from his first marriage, saying that he had a lifelong contract.

Last year, his position changed following the death of his second wife Gudrun, mother of 30-year-old Katharina.

Katharina organised the first live web broadcast and public viewing of an opera from Bayreuth this year - and has been credited with opening up the festival to new audiences.

Bavarian culture minister Thomas Goppel said the partnership represented "both the future and the continuity of the festival".

The sisters' appointment has put an end to a bid by another partnership to run the festival.

Mr Wagner's niece, Nike Wagner, along with Paris Opera director Gerard Mortier, made a late application to take charge of the event.

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

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