TWO 1955 RPPC POSTCARDS OF WIELAND AND WOLFGANG WAGNER COMOSERS FROM GERMANY. Wieland Wagner (5 January 1917 - 17 October 1966) was a German opera director, grandson of Richard Wagner. As co-director of the Bayreuth Festival when it re-opened after World War II, he was noted for innovative new stagings of the operas, departing from the naturalistic scenery and lighting of the originals. His wartime involvement in the development of the V-2 rocket was kept secret for many years. Associations with Hitler and Nazism.Wieland Wagner was the elder of two sons of Siegfried and Winifred Wagner, grandson of composer Richard Wagner, and great-grandson of composer Franz Liszt through Wieland's paternal grandmother. In 1941, he married the dancer and choreographer Gertrud Reissinger. They had four children: Iris b. 1942 d 2014 , Wolf Siegfried b.  Their son Wolf married Marie Eleanore von Lehndorff-Steinort,  sister of fashion model Veruschka, whose father was involved in the July 20 plot to assassinate Hitler. Late in his life, Wieland had a love affair with the much younger Anja Silja, one of the singers he had recruited for Bayreuth. In 1965, he was awarded the Pour le Mérite. He died of lung cancer in October 1966. Wieland Wagner is credited as an initiator of Regietheater through ushering in a new modern style to Wagnerian opera as a stage director and designer, substituting a symbolic for a naturalist staging and focusing on the psychology of the drama. Wieland began his directorial career before World War II, working on operas by his father and grandfather. His innovative approach did not become clear until after the war.
His design for the 1937 Bayreuth production of Parsifal, for example, was conservative, though it did have film projections during the transformation scenes. When the Bayreuth Festival reopened after the war in 1951, Wieland and his brother Wolfgang became festival directors in place of their mother, whose association with Adolf Hitler had made her unacceptable. Wieland's own past was, however, suppressed. The revolutionary productions evoked extreme views both for and against.
Wieland's long-lasting 1951 production of Parsifal included many features with which he later would be identified. Post-war austerity and his own interest - influenced by Adolphe Appia - in lighting effects led to the use of round minimalist sets lit from above. Wieland's first post-war Siegfried represented Fafner with a 30 ft statue of a dragon belching fire.In his later production of the opera he instead used pairs of giant eyes, which were picked out in turn from the back-projected forest, to suggest the movements of a huge creature stretching halfway down the Bayreuth hill. Wieland's 1956 "Mastersingers without Nuremberg" was the symbolic culmination of his campaign to move away from naturalism in Wagner production with the medieval town represented by the cobbled shape of a street and, above the stage, a ball suggestive of a flowering tree.
Wieland's minimalism extended beyond the stage furniture and props. The performer of Gunther, for example, was expected to sing leaning forward in Act 1 of Götterdämmerung until he felt his authority challenged by Hagen and sat up straight. It is hard to imagine a greater contrast with traditional operatic acting. Although Wieland is best remembered for productions of his grandfather's works at Bayreuth, he was often asked to work elsewhere in Germany and Europe. For example, he produced Tannhäuser and Der fliegende Holländer in Copenhagen, the Ring in Naples, Stuttgart and Cologne, and Beethoven's Fidelio in Stuttgart, London, Paris and Brussels.Wieland's wife Gertrud collaborated with him to develop his interpretations of the operas and devise stage movement for the solo singers and chorus. Trained in modern dance, she is credited in the Bayreuth programs with choreography for Parsifal, Tannhäuser, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, but in fact she assisted him in all of his Bayreuth productions and many that he staged elsewhere, sometimes taking rehearsals on her own. This was not revealed until after Wieland's death, and Wolfgang Wagner claims in his memoirs that it's not true.  But biographer Renate Schostack recounts many particulars of this collaboration,  as does the daughter of Wieland and Gertrud, Nike Wagner. The great love of his life was the German soprano Anja Silja. Only twenty years old, she took over as Senta in 1960 in Bayreuth when Leonie Rysanek cancelled, and created a sensation.
Blessed with a strong, agile, youthful and gleaming voice, and with an extraordinary talent for acting, she embodied Wieland's ideals. She sang Elsa in Lohengrin, Elisabeth and Venus in Tannhäuser and Eva in Meistersinger at Bayreuth. Elsewhere, he cast her as Isolde, Brünnhilde, Richard Strauss's Elektra, and Salome, and Alban Berg's Lulu and Marie in Wozzeck.
She even sang Desdemona in Verdi's Otello in Wieland's production. Among the other celebrated singers who worked with Wieland were Hans Hotter, George London, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Eberhard Wächter, Thomas Stewart, Theo Adam, Josef Greindl, Jerome Hines, Wolfgang Windgassen, Ramón Vinay, Jess Thomas, Jon Vickers, Martha Mödl, Astrid Varnay, Régine Crespin, Rita Gorr, Leonie Rysanek, Birgit Nilsson, Jean Madeira, Grace Hoffman, Franz Crass, Victoria de los Ángeles, Grace Bumbry, Christa Ludwig, Martti Talvela, Carlos Alexander, Isabel Strauß, James King, Claude Heater, Ticho Parly, Dame Gwyneth Jones, and Fritz Wunderlich. Wieland wanted great actors, but he also wanted the singers to execute his plans faithfully. Conductors with whom he collaborated were Hans Knappertsbusch, Clemens Krauss, Joseph Keilberth, André Cluytens, Pierre Boulez, Herbert von Karajan, Erich Leinsdorf, Heinz Tietjen, Lorin Maazel, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Karl Böhm, Bruno Maderna, and Thomas Schippers. Wieland Wagner's life and work are discussed in Tony Palmer's 2011 film, The Wagner Family.
Winifred Wagner's close friendship with Hitler meant that, as a teenager and young man, Wieland knew the dictator as "Uncle Wolf".  In 1938 he joined the Nazi Party on Hitler's personal insistence. From September 1944 to April 1945 he held a sinecure at the Institut für physikalische Forschung in Bayreuth, founded by his brother-in-law Bodo Lafferentz, which was a satellite of the Flossenbürg concentration camp devoted to research and development of an improved guidance system of the V-2 rocket bomb.This enabled him to avoid being called into the Wehrmacht for the final defense of Germany. At the Institut he built models of stage sets and developed new stage lighting systems with the assistance of prisoner Hans Imhof, an electrical technician. At his denazification hearing in Bayreuth, on December 10, 1948, he was classified as a "Mitläufer" (follower), the fourth and lowest category, and fined DM100 plus the court costs.
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (Nilsson, Windgassen, Töpper, Andersson, Hotter; Boulez, 1967) [live] Bayreuth Festival at Osaka International Festival. Wagner: Die Walküre (Silja, Dernesch, Thomas, Adam, Nienstedt, Hoffmann; Schippers, 1967) [live] Bayreuth Festival at Osaka International Festival. Berg: Lulu (Silja, Alexander, Holm, Cervena, Ferenz, Wildermann; Leitner, 1968) Stuttgart Staatsoper. Wolfgang Wagner (30 August 1919 - 21 March 2010) was a German opera director. He is 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. 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).  He has three children: Eva, born 1945, Gottfried, born 1947 and Katharina, born 1978.  He was reportedly estranged from his daughter Eva over control of the Bayreuth Festival,  while Gottfried, who has long been publicly critical,  and was banned from the family villa in 1975,  only learned of his father's death from media coverage.  According to Gottfried's autobiography Twilight of the Wagners: The Unveiling of a Family's Legacy (1997, English version: 1999), his father told him in the 1950s: Hitler cured unemployment and restored worldwide respect for the German economy. He freed our people from a moral crisis and united all decent forces. We Wagners have him to thank for the idealistic rescue of the Bayreuth festival. Eva was eventually named as his successor as the director of the Bayreuth Festival in conjunction with his preferred candidate, her half-sister Katharina, after the two women reached an agreement following the death of his second wife who was Katharina's mother.
Wolfgang worked with his older brother Wieland Wagner in 1951 on the resurrection of the Bayreuth Festival following Germany's defeat in the Second World War. Since that time, the festival has run on an annual basis. On Wieland's death in 1966, Wolfgang became the sole director of the festival and, under his directorship, the famous Bayreuth Festspielhaus underwent extensive renovations. He stepped down on 31 August 2008 when the year's festival had finished.Both brothers contributed productions to the Bayreuth Festival, but Wolfgang did not enjoy the same critical reception as Wieland did. Like his brother, Wolfgang favoured modern, minimalist stagings of his grandfather's works in his productions. As director of the festival, Wolfgang commissioned work from many guest producers, including innovative and controversial stagings such as the 1976 production of the Ring Cycle by Patrice Chéreau. However, he confined the stagings at the festival to the last ten operas by his grandfather that make up the Bayreuth canon established under the direction of his grandmother Cosima Wagner.
Wolfgang attracted some criticism for what was seen as his autocratic sway over the Festival,  much of which comes from within the Wagner family itself. Wieland's daughters, Daphne and Nike Wagner, have accused their uncle of ill-treating their branch of the family, saying that he drove them and their mother out of Wahnfried, the family home, following their father's death and destroyed the scenery, models and correspondence with artists relating to their father's work. Wagner writer Barry Millington notes two rather inconsistent threads of criticism about Wolfgang's role in managing the presentation of the family's connection with the Nazis. Daphne accuses him of blackening her father's name by releasing information on Wieland's connection with the Bayreuth satellite of the Flossenbürg concentration camp, while Wolfgang's own son, Gottfried, accuses him of having tried to suppress all information about the Wagner grandchildren's connection with the Nazis. Nonetheless, he helped make the Bayreuth one of the most popular destinations in the world of opera.There was a ten-year waiting list for tickets.  In 1994, he invited Werner Herzog (who had staged Lohengrin at Bayreuth in 1987) to make a documentary about the festival, which was released under the title Die Verwandlung der Welt in Musik (The Transformation of the World into Music). Former Bayreuth director Wolfgang Wagner dies aged 90. Wolfgang Wagner took over the festival with his brother in 1951. Wolfgang Wagner, former director of the Bayreuth Festival and the grandson of composer Richard Wagner, has died aged 90 in Germany.
A statement on the festival's website said that Wagner died on Sunday, but did not give further details. "Wolfgang Wagner dedicated his whole life to the legacy of his grandfather, " the festival website said. Wagner stepped down as the event's director in 2008 after leading it for for more than half a century.
Born on 30 August 1919 in Bayreuth, Wagner studied the trumpet and French horn before being sent to fight on the eastern front early in World War II. He first took charge of the festival dedicated to his grandfather's works in 1951, first with his brother Wieland, and then as the sole director from 1966 - with a lifetime contract. In addition to increasing the funding and establishing a separate foundation to oversee the composer's library, Wagner also invited directors from abroad to direct individual operas.
Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier. Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier are joint directors. While many of the versions sparked controversy at the time, they were often groundbreaking interpretations of Richard Wagner's operas, in keeping with his idea of broadening their meaning. His insistence on serving out his lifetime contract led, in his later years, to a lengthy power struggle with officials who oversaw the annual summer event and also triggered a spat within the Wagner family.For years, Wolfgang Wagner insisted that only his second wife, Gudrun, could replace him, although German government officials and others overseeing the festival refused to accept her. By the time Gudrun died in November 2007, Wagner was insisting that only the couple's daughter, Katharina, could fill his shoes - putting him at odds with two other Wagners who also sought the job. They took charge of the festival last year. Wagner is survived by his two daughters and a son, Gottfried.
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