Wolfgang Wagner, Opera Festival Chief in Bayreuth Died at 90

I guess it is time for me to share some information and stories of famous people from Germany. I heard over the radio yesterday that Wolfgang Wagner is dead. He died peacefully at his sleep in Bayreuth, Bavaria at the age of 90 at. Here is a short info about Wolfgang Wagner. Anyway, I visited Bayreuth in August 2009. Feel free to browse my categories here.

Wolfgang Wagner (30 August 1919 – 21 March 2010) was best known as the director (Festspielleiter) of the Bayreuth Festival, a position he initially assumed alongside his brother Wieland in 1951 until the latter’s death in 1966. From then on, he assumed total control until he retired in 2008, although many of the productions which he commissioned were severely criticized in their day. He had been plagued by family conflicts and criticism for many years. He was the son of Siegfried Wagner, the grandson of Richard Wagner, and the great-grandson of Franz Liszt.

His mother, Winifred Wagner (née Williams-Klindworth), was English. He was born at Wahnfried, the Wagner family home in Bayreuth in Bavaria. In addition to his elder brother Wieland (1917-66), he had an elder sister Friedelind Wagner (1918-1991), and a younger sister Verena Wagner (Verena Lafferenz, born 1920).

During the 1920s Winifred Wagner was an admirer, supporter and friend of the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler, who became a regular visitor to Bayreuth. Wolfgang Wagner first met Hitler in 1923, when he was four years old, and the Wagner children were encouraged to call him “Uncle Adolf” or “Uncle Wolf” (his nickname). When Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, he showered favours on the Wagner family. Wolfgang was a member of the Hitler Youth but never joined the Nazi Party. He joined the German Army in 1939. During the Polish campaign he was severely wounded in the arm, and he was discharged as medically unfit in June 1940 (Hitler visited him in the hospital).

Wagner married twice, to Ellen Drexel and Gudrun Mack. Gudrun died in November 2007. He has three children: Eva, born 1945, Gottfried, born 1947 and Katharina, born 1978. He was reportedly estranged from the children born of his first marriage; both with his son Gottfried over the family’s connection with Hitler; and with his daughter Eva over control of the Bayreuth Festival. Eva was eventually named as his successor as the director of the Bayreuth Festival in conjunction with his preferred candidate, his daughter Katharina, after the two women reached an agreement following the death of his second wife who was Katharina’s mother. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Wagner

 
 

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