[Note: This post has been updated (3) as of 6:21 PM Eastern on 24 Sep. See below.]
We almost don't want to believe this, and quite frankly don't understand it. That notwithstanding, here's the nub of it:
A great-granddaughter of composer Richard Wagner is teaming with star German conductor Christian Thielemann to bid for the leadership of the Bayreuth festival, the pair announced in an interview published Saturday.
Katharina Wagner, 29, made her directorial debut at Bayreuth this year, producing a closely watched interpretation of "Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg" at the annual celebration of the German opera genius.
"We have decided to run as a leadership team," Katharina Wagner was quoted as saying in an interview with Thielemann, published by the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Update (11:11 AM Eastern on 23 Sep): Blogger Ms. Mostly Opera of Mostly Opera has provided an English translation of the full Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung interview of Katharina Wagner and Christian Thielemann. We still don't quite know what to make of it yet (the interview and the announced partnership, not Ms. Mostly Opera's translation), but you can be certain that when we do, you'll read about it here. I mean, talk about an artistic odd couple! It all has a decided whiff of the political about it — more than a whiff, actually; it's perhaps not overstating the case to say it positively reeks of it — and that can't be good for the Festspiele artistically.
Update 2 (5:25 PM Eastern on 23 Sep): The plot thickens.
Update 3 (6:21 PM Eastern on 24 Sep): Ms. Mostly Opera has just posted a detailed and informative background survey of the whole Bayreuth succession soap opera for your delectation and education which she calls, "The Bayreuth Succession: A Docu-Soap". Good reading. Bookmark Mostly Opera for further updates fresh from the European press.