On March 21, Mr. Wolfgang Wagner passed away at his home in Bayreuth, Germany, at the age of 90. Mr. Wagner was the grandson of the renowned German composer Richard Wagner, and he served for many years as the director of the Bayreuth Festival.
The New National Theatre, Tokyo (NNTT) enjoyed an extremely close relationship with the Bayreuth Festival that began during Mr. Wagner’s tenure there as director. In 1997, Mr. Wagner was commissioned to direct the commemorative opera for the opening of NNTT, Lohengrin, with the late Hiroshi Wakasugi conducting. It was a tremendous honor and an invaluable experience for our newly opened theatre to be able to stage his exquisite and profound new production of his grandfather’s opera, Lohengrin.
Subsequently, when the NNTT performed works by Richard Wagner, he would always offer kind words of encouragement. He served as an advisor on the initial production of the Tokyo Ring, offering an extraordinary amount of assistance to the theatre. In particular, he attended the opera’s premiere in 2001 and offered praise for the performance. He was once again extremely generous with his advice as the NNTT prepared to bring this opera back to the stage over the past few years. Little could we imagine that we would learn of his passing during a performance of the last opera of the Tokyo Ring cycle, Götterdämmerung.
On behalf of the NNTT, We would like to express our most sincere condolences to Mr. Wagner’s family, and I pray that Mr. Wolfgang Wagner will rest in eternal peace.
March 22, 2010
New National Theatre, Tokyo