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David Pountney became internationally known through his production of Katya Kabanova at the 1972 Wexford Festival. Between 1975-80, David Pountney was Director of Production for Scottish Opera.  His productions there featured a Janacek cycle in collaboration with Welsh National Opera of Jenufa, House of the Dead, The Makropulos Case, Katya Kabanova and The Cunning Little Vixen. He produced the world première of David Blake's Toussaint in 1977 at English National Opera and went on to become Director of Productions in 1980, directing over twenty operas including Rusalka, Osud, The Midsummer Marriage, Doctor Faust, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Hansel and Gretel, The Adventures of Mr Broucek and The Fairy Queen. He has directed over ten world premieres, including three by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for which he also wrote the libretto, and has translated many operas into English from Russian, Czech, German and Italian. As a freelance Director from 1992 he has worked regularly in Zürich, at the Vienna State Opera, at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich as well as opera houses in America and Japan, and in the UK has a long-standing association with Opera North. He received a Janacek medal for his Janacek cycle in Wales and Scotland,

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David Pountney became internationally known through his production of Katya Kabanova at the 1972 Wexford Festival. Between 1975-80, David Pountney was Director of Production for Scottish Opera.  His productions there featured a Janacek cycle in collaboration with Welsh National Opera of Jenufa, House of the Dead, The Makropulos Case, Katya Kabanova and The Cunning Little Vixen. He produced the world première of David Blake's Toussaint in 1977 at English National Opera and went on to become Director of Productions in 1980, directing over twenty operas including Rusalka, Osud, The Midsummer Marriage, Doctor Faust, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Hansel and Gretel, The Adventures of Mr Broucek and The Fairy Queen.

He has directed over ten world premieres, including three by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for which he also wrote the libretto, and has translated many operas into English from Russian, Czech, German and Italian.

As a freelance Director from 1992 he has worked regularly in Zürich, at the Vienna State Opera, at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich as well as opera houses in America and Japan, and in the UK has a long-standing association with Opera North. He received a Janacek medal for his Janacek cycle in Wales and Scotland, and a Martinu medal for his productions of Julietta and Greek Passion at Opera North and the Bregenz Festival. His productions have twice won an Olivier award. He recently directed Prince Igor and Die Frau ohne Schatten in Zurich, Il Trittico in Lyon and König Roger and Die Passagierin for the Bregenz Festival where he has been Intendant since December 2003.  He has been appointed Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Welsh National Opera from 1st September, 2011.

Spring 2011 saw the premiere of  Kommilitonen at the Royal Academy of Music – his third opera written in collaboration with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, which also had its US premier at the Juilliard School in New York in November 2011. Future plans include a new production of Lulu for WNO, a new Philip Glass opera, Die Spüren der Verirrten  for the opening of a new theatre in Linz in 2013, and Die Zauberflöte for the Seebühne in Bregenz.

David Pountney was made a CBE and a Chevalier in the French Ordre des Arts et Lettres.

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Reviews

"Bregenz's recipe has combined totally serious interpretation and a populist touch. Under Pountney, the festival has become both a mission station for popularising opera and the capital of British opera in exile. "

Tom Sutcliffe, Opera Now.

"Pountney and his designers take a deliberately restrained approach to Szymanowski's exotic, overtly erotic, eclectic score...and it works magnificently. Mark Elder, working with his old ENO partner for the first time for almost 20 years, conjured up intoxicating sounds from the pit, and the fine cast was led by Scott Hendricks (Roger), Olga Pasichnyk (Roxana, his queen), Will Hartmann (Shepherd) and John Graham-Hall (Edrisi, his Arabian mentor). "

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times.