As Germany's annual Bayreuth Festival moves toward its conclusion this week, the real drama is unfolding behind the scenes over a successor to 89-year-old director Wolfgang Wagner.
The furor increased Monday with news that Nike Wagner, the great-granddaughter of the composer Richard Wagner, had teamed with Belgian director Gerard Mortier to apply for the job. Nike's bid rivals an earlier bid by two of her cousins -- the daughters of current director Wolfgang Wagner.
Richard Wagner founded the festival in 1872 and his grandsons, Wolfgang and Wieland, took charge of the festival in 1951. After the death of Wieland -- Nike's father -- Wolfgang became the sole director in 1967, but he announced in April that he would quit the director's post at the end of August.
An official decision on whom will take over the festival is not expected until after this year's event ends Thursday.