Austrian Cross for Welsh opera boss

Austrian Cross for Welsh opera boss


norman lebrecht

July 23, 2014

A richly deserved award for David Pountney, marking ten years as adventurous director of the Bregenz Festival. 

david pountney

Press release:


Welsh National Opera’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director, David Pountney, has been awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class. He was presented the award by the President of the Republic Heinz Fisher in a ceremony which took place in the opening of the Bregenz Festival.


The award honours Austrians and foreign leading figures who have “distinguished themselves and earned general acclaim through especially superior creative and commendable services in the areas of the sciences or the arts” and is conferred by the Federal President.


This year marks David Pountney’s last year as Artistic Director of the Bregenz Festival, a position he has held since 2004.


David Pountney says, “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.”


David Pountney has already been made a Commander of the British Empire and a Chevalier in the French Ordre des Arts et Lettres and was last year presented with the Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit for his contribution to the promotion of Polish culture.



  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Richly deserved, as you say. Some of the finest, most accessible and intelligent productions I’ve seen in recent years have been on the lake. I hope his successor continues this line of work.

    • Nick says:

      And not just in recent years. He did some amazing work during his early years with Scottish Opera in its heyday in the 1970s. His Janacek cycle for that company and the WNO, a gloriously whimsical Golden Cockerel and Bartered Bride both designed by Sue Blane and Maria Bjornson, Macbeth (Koltai) at the Edinburgh Festival with Vishnevskaya and Norman Bailey, and a quite superb Meistersinger (Bjornson) spring immediately to mind.