Despite already spending more than two years onpreparations, Danish director Lars von Trier has decided to pull out of theopera production of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Bayreuth Opera Festival inSouthern Germany.

Von Trier's adaptation of Richard Wagner's mammoth 15hour opera cycle was meant to premiere in 2006 and would have become an almostfull time commitment from the director for the next two years.

The Festival expressed regret and surprise at von Trier'sdecision, and said that it was purely motivated by his belief that creating anew staging of a Wagner-opera, in celebration of the original ideas andsettings, would exceed von Trier's powers, and that he would not be able tofulfil his own ambitions for the project.

The festival management has begun searching for a newdirector's team.

Von Trier wrapped the shoot of Manderlay, his highly anticipated follow-up to last year's Dogville, on May 1, and it is expected to be ready for Cannes2005. However, the planned third instalment in his USA trilogy, Wasington, has yet to be written and has no starting date yet.