Bayreuth festival director katharina wagner (42) will need months before she is healthy again. She is "still seriously ill, but is now on the road to stabilization," the festival announced on tuesday. "The recovery process will take months to complete."
About four weeks ago, it was announced that wagner would be unable to perform her duties "until further notice" for health reasons. What she is suffering from is not known. "Our thoughts are with our festival director and we wish her a speedy recovery," the festival now announced.
The great-granddaughter of composer richard wagner (1813-1883) and daughter of long-time festival director wolfgang wagner took over the festival management in 2008 together with her half-sister eva wagner-pasquier; since 2015 she has been the sole director on the green hill. Only in november 2019, she had extended her contract until 2025. For the time of the illness the former commercial manager, heinz-dieter sense, was appointed as her provisional deputy.
The past few months on the green hill have been extremely turbulent. In december 2019, the long-time press spokesman for the festival, peter emmerich, died completely unexpectedly. Then a few months later, the corona pandemic threw everything into disarray. Katharina wagner had to cancel her long-planned "lohengrin" premiere in barcelona – and a little later even the entire bayreuth festival this year.
Shortly thereafter, the news of her serious illness became public, and only on monday the festival announced that it was parting ways with its commercial director holger von berg and not renewing his contract, which expires in april 2021. It also remains to be seen what will happen to music director christian thielemann, whose contract expires in the fall and has not yet been renewed. Festival spokesman hubertus herrmann said on monday that wagner had begun negotiations with thielemann before she fell ill. They are to be continued when she is well again.