Pountney awarded Austrian Cross of Honour

The chief executive and artistic director of Welsh National Opera, David Pountney, has been awarded one of Austria’s most prestigious honours.

The Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art First Class is awarded to Austrian and foreign leading figures for outstanding achievement in their respective field.

Pountney has enjoyed an illustrious career since the early 1970s. Following director of production roles at both the Scottish Opera and English National Opera, he worked regularly at the Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper and at houses in the US and Japan.

He has directed over 10 world premieres to date, and has translated many works from Russian, Czech, German and Italian into English.

The director received the award during the opening ceremony of the Bregenz Festival, where he has been intendant since 2004. He is due to step down from the role after this year’s festival.

Pountney said: ‘It is a great honour to be recognised by a state which has such an astoundingly rich cultural inheritance. I have worked on various Austrian stages from the Wiener Staatsoper to Linz whose new opera house opened with my production of Philip Glass’s new opera Spüren der Verirrten last year, but my main focus has been on the Bregenz Festival where I made my debut in 1989, and have enjoyed 10 marvellous years as intendant since 2004.’

Image: Pountney © MOMA