|DSK with Myriam L'Aouffir in Cannes|
NEW KING FOR BELGIUM
|King Philippe I and wife Mathilde|
Boël maintains that she makes no claim on the royal fortune but that the unresolved question of her birth is complicating her life. "I don't believe that this legal action will put an end to the discrimination against me or my family", she said, "but with DNA proof there will finally be certainty about my identity". Now that the matter is being widely discussed in the press, her mother, Sybille de Selys Longchamps, has spoken to two Belgian newspapers after decades of silence and admitted that she had an 18-year-long affair with Albert. She added that she understood and supported her daughter's efforts to gain recognition.
|Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier|
and half sisters Katharina Wagner (35) and Eva Wagner-Pasquier (68), daughters of Richard's grandson Wolfgang Wagner who ran the Festival until his death in 2008, and great granddaughters of founder Richard Wagner himself. [By the way, Eva Wagner-Pasquier, a professional opera manager, was artistic adviser to the Opera Festival of Aix-en-Provence (*) until 2008].
The Wagner sisters are being watched very closely this anniversary year. Of particular interest to Ring lovers (called "Ring-nuts" for their utter devotion) is the appointment of German theatre director Frank Castorf, whose staging is often considered provocative. He was not the sisters' first choice but was asked to step in when filmmaker Wim Wenders bowed out rather late in the game. It is no secret that Castorf considers Bayreuth stuffy and old-fashioned, and that he finds the Wagner sisters lacking in artistic vision. He plans to break some rules and has already announced that "his" Ring will be oil-based. The "Rhine Gold" will be oil, the black gold that represents the Nibelung treasure; his version of "The Valkyrie" takes place in oil-producing Azerbaijan; "Siegfried" will have a huge backdrop of Mount-Rushmore-like heads of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, "men who changed the world"; and the "Götterdämmerung" sets will include The New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street "where all fates are decided today".
(*) For more on opera in Aix, check the Opera Festival chapter in my book Taking Root in Provence by clicking here.