Nike Wagner bids in battle to head Bayreuth opera festival

Belgian opera impresario Gerard Mortier is teaming up with Nike Wagner, great-granddaughter of composer Richard Wagner, in a bid to run the legendary Bayreuth Festival, a report said Monday.

Nike Wagner bids in battle to head Bayreuth opera festival
Mortier (L) and Wagner (R), have bid to run Bayreuth together. Photo: DPA

Quoting Nike Wagner, 63, the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said the two had faxed a joint letter of application to the festival’s ruling body, the Stiftungsrat. It meets on September 1 to nominate a successor to 88-year-old Wolfgang Wagner, who has headed Bayreuth for the past 57 years.

The closing date for applications is Friday, one day after the end of the festival and the day before Wolfgang’s 89th birthday. Current favourites to ascend Bayreuth’s throne are his two daughters, Katharina, 30, and her much older half-sister, Eva Wagner-Pasquier, 63. But Mortier and Nike Wagner were also “open” to cooperating with Eva, Nike Wagner told the newspaper. Eva had originally planned to make a joint bid with her cousin Nike to succeed Wolfgang in a bitter internecine feud that has been raging for decades over control of the world’s oldest and most prestigious summer music festival.

But following the unexpected death of Wolfgang’s second wife, Gudrun, last year, a new solution was put forward whereby Eva and Katharina would jointly run the month-long festival. The idea has both the blessing of Wolfgang, who had originally wanted Katharina to run Bayreuth on her own, as well as the approval of the powerful Society of Friends of Bayreuth, in addition to the agreement of a number of prominent members of the Stiftungsrat.

In an recent radio interview, Nike said she had not given up hope of winning the battle. “The ball is now in the court of the Wagner family,” she told DeutschlandRadio Kultur on Thursday, referring to the festival’s statutes according to which the festival should preferably remain in the hands of Wagner’s descendants. “Sometimes, I still believe in miracles,” Nike said.

The idea of a joint application by Eva and Katharina was originally proposed by the Stiftungsrat, even though Eva and Nike had already submitted a joint application. “I would very much have liked to have done it with Eva,” Nike said.

Mortier, 64, made a name for himself as head of the Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels before taking over as head of the renowned Salzburg Festival in Austria in the 1990s. He also founded the ambitious Ruhrtriennale music and theatre festival in western Germany, before being appointed head of the Opera de Paris. Next year Mortier will step down from his position in Paris to take up a new position of general director of the New York City Opera.


Where to celebrate Diwali 2022 in Germany

The holiday of Diwali kicks off on Monday. Here's where you can celebrate all around Germany.

Where to celebrate Diwali 2022 in Germany

With over 100,000 Indians in Germany, and over 175,000 people of Indian descent, it’s little wonder that Diwali – the famous five day Hindi festival of lights starting this year on Monday October 24th – is being celebrated all around the Bundesrepublik

READ ALSO: Indians in Germany: Who are they and where do they live?

Even the House of Parliament in Frankfurt is honouring the holiday for the first time with a special reception on October 30th.

Diwali takes its name from the clay lamps or deepa (the event is sometimes called Deepawali) that many Indians light outside their home. With the days shortening in Germany, there’s all the more reason to celebrate light — especially over lively music, traditional dance and authentically spicy Indian cuisine.

We have rounded up some of the top events to celebrate around Germany, both the week of Diwali and afterwards, stretching into mid-November. If you have an additional event to suggest, email us at [email protected]

October 24th in Heidelberg

Happen to be in Heidelberg? Then it’s not too late to head to the Sweet Home Project, which will be cooking up a storm starting at 6:30pm. The menu includes an assortment of Indian sweets and savoury dishes. The collective only asks that participants bring along a candle (and a hearty appetite).

If you miss this event, and are still craving some (really) spicy traditional cuisine, the Firebowl Heidelberg is hosting a Diwali party on October 29th, replete with lots of food and drink and Bollywood beats the whole night. 

October 29th near Frankfurt

For those who fancy a Feier with a full-buffet, this celebration in Dreieich delivers through an all-you-can-eat dinner with traditional fare. Starting at 5pm and stretching into the early hours of the morning, the festive feast includes traditional Bollywood music by Derrick Linco. There’s also a dance party for kids, who receive free admission up to seven years old and €25 up to 14 years. Normal tickets go for €40 per person.

A previous Diwali celebration of traditional dance and music in Dresden. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Sebastian Kahnert

November 4th near Düsseldorf

On November 4th at 6pm, the Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft Düsseldorf will be hosting a family-friendly party in nearby Ratingen with classical Indian music and dance, a huge dinner and Bollywood music led by DJ SA-ONE. Tickets cost about €40 each, but children under six receive free entry. 

November 5th in Bonn 

The Indian Students Association of Bonn-Cologne will be hosting its biggest event of the year: for €10, event goers can try an array of Indian food, play classic games and tune into cultural performances. 

READ ALSO: Moving from India to Munich changed my life

November 12th in Essen 

Whether you like traditional bhajans or meditative ragas, this concert will capture many of the classic sounds of Indian music with artists such as Anubhab Tabla Ensemble, Debasish Bhattacharjee and Somnath Karmorak taking center stage. The performance starts at 5pm and costs €10. 

November 12th and 13th in Berlin

Indian food fans will get to enjoy 12 stands devoted to Indian cuisine and products, all coming from the local Indian community. The weekend-long festival will also include stand-up comedy from the Desi Vibes Comedy Group. Karaoke fans will also enjoy singing along with the Sounds of India group, followed by an after party on Saturday. All this only costs €2 at the door.