Sir David Pountney CBE in conversation with Christopher Cook

Posted on 13, Jan, 2021 in

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  • Sir David Pountney CBE in conversation with Christopher Cook
    26 March 2021
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Sir David Pountney CBE in conversation with,

Christopher Cook

ZOOM WEBINAR: 6.30pm, 26th March 2021

Credit Emli Bendixen


Sir David Pountney CBE became internationally known through his production of Katya Kabanova at the 1972 Wexford Festival. Between 1975 and 1980, he was Director of Productions for Scottish Opera. Productions there featured a Janáček cycle in collaboration with Welsh National Opera. He directed the world premiere of David Blake’s Toussaint in 1977 (ENO) and went on to become ENO’s Director of Productions in 1980, directing over 20 operas, and took a leading part making ENO a powerful engine of radical theatrical experiment. He has directed over 20 world premieres, including three by Peter Maxwell Davies for which he also wrote the libretto, and has translated operas into English from Russian, Czech, German and Italian. He continues to be an enthusiastic libretto writer.

As a freelance director, future plans include his debut at the Santa Fe Festival 2020 with Rusalka, a continuation of his new Ring Cycle in Chicago, Un Forza di Destino in Lisbon and The Cunning Little Vixon, Rossignol and Bluebeard’s Castle all with Welsh National Opera. The 2018/19 season included the start of a new Ring Cycle in Chicago, Charodeika at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Manon Lescaut at La Scala Milan and The Passenger and Simon Boccanegra both for Israel Opera Tel Aviv.

Previous engagements include Saul og David in Copenhagen, The Passenger(Houston, New York and Chicago); Kommilitonen, his third opera written in collaboration with Peter Maxwell Davies (Royal Academy of Music and US premiere at the Juilliard School, New York); a new Philip Glass opera, Spüren der Verirrten, for the opening of a new opera house in Linz which won the Schickaneder Prize for best opera production in 2013, and Die Zauberflöte for the lake stage in Bregenz, where he was Intendant from 2003 – 13.

From 2011 to 2019, David has been Artistic Director of Welsh National Opera where he has directed Berg’s Lulu, Rossini’s Guillaume Tell, Mosè in Egitto, Pelléas et Mélisande, In Parenthesis (world premiere), Elena Langer’s opera “Figaro gets a Divorce.” (world premiere), Un Forza di Destino – the start of a Verdi trilogy and last season Janáček’s House of the Dead which they also took to the Brno Festival in the Czech Republic.

He has worked regularly in Zurich, at the Vienna State Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper as well as opera houses in America and Japan. He received a Janáček medal for his Janáček cycle in Wales and Scotland, and a Martinů medal for his productions of Julietta and Greek Passion (Opera North and Bregenz Festival). His productions have twice won an Olivier award.

Sir David was knighted for services to Opera in 2019, he is a CBE, a Chevalier in the French Ordre des Arts et Lettres, has the Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and was awarded the Ehrenkreuz des Bundes Oesterreich in 2014. Sir David was also awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Cardiff University in recognition of his contribution as an artist and cultural leader and an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Philharmonic Society, an honour shared with Verdi, Wagner and Sondheim.


Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook began his career in television, producing for BBC 2 and Channel 4. He broadcasts regularly on BBC Radios 3, 4, and 5. He is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine and has written for Gramophone and International Record Review.  He teaches for the University of Syracuse on their London Programme and for the British American Drama Academy, and was a Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts, London. He has chaired pre-concert events for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hallé Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Study Days at Glyndebourne and at the Royal Opera House, where he also interviews for their ‘In Conversation with …‘ programmes. He has chaired English National Opera’s pre-opera series for eight years. Christopher was the Director of the Cheltenham Festival of Literature in 2004 and Chair of the Cheltenham International Music Festival until 2013.


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