Welsh National Opera boss awarded for promoting Poland

David Pountney at Vienna ceremony David Pountney received the award at a ceremony in Vienna

Related Stories

Welsh National Opera's chief executive has been given one of Poland's highest honours for promoting Polish culture.

David Pountney, who is also the company's artistic director, was awarded the Order of Merit at a ceremony in Vienna.

It recognises outstanding contributions to co-operation between Poland and other nations.

He was honoured for staging Polish opera in his role as director of the Bregenz festival in Austria since 2003.

Foreigners and Polish citizens living abroad are eligible for the award.

Start Quote

These people have been through suffering and you can feel it in the music”

End Quote David Pountney Welsh National Opera

Mr Pountney, who joined WNO in 2011, has worked on operas by Polish artists including Karol Szymanowski's King Roger, Mieczyslaw Weinberg's The Passenger and the forthcoming premiere of Andre Tchaikowsky's The Merchant of Venice.

"Polish opera has an emotional intensity, a resonance", said Mr Pountney, who pointed to the difficult history that Poland had endured under long periods of foreign domination.

"These people have been through suffering and you can feel it in the music.

"That is what opera does. It brings feelings. Music describes something beyond words."

In response to the honour, Mr Pountney said: "I feel a deep gratitude and honour to receive this award. I am delighted that the Bregenz Festival could contribute to the dissemination of the culture of Poland.

"I knew in this case, we had really done a lot for Polish culture at the festival. We had uncovered two Polish composers that Poland had forgotten."

The work of Karol Szymanowski had its world premiere at the Bregenz Festival after being banned under Communist rule.

Since being performed at Bregenz, Szymanowski's operas have been performed by the English National Opera in London and by companies in Houston, New York, Chicago, France, Poland and Germany.

Mr Pountney added: "The arts are different to politics, the arts have a soft power. By allowing these operas to be performed we are changing, in a very small way, the history of music and theatre."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Wales stories

RSS

Features

  • Lucy FranklinDouble trouble

    'Rising house prices left me high and dry - twice!'


  • NS Savannah, 1962Nuclear dream

    The ship that totally failed to change the world


  • Ed Miliband takes a selfie at a Cambridge hairdressersNo more photo ops?

    Why is Ed Miliband drawing attention to his public image?


  • Espresso cup7 days quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?


  • Glasgow 2014 quaichs and medalsQuaich guide

    What do the Scottish gifts given to Games medallists symbolise?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.