A 'Brit of good news' for opera director as he receives Polish citizenship for outstanding work promoting Polish culture

During the ceremony, the 71-year-old director of the Welsh National opera said he was proud of his ties to Polish culture. Jacek Turczyk/PAP

Leading Brit opera director David Pountney has been awarded Polish citizenship in honour of his work with Polish music.

The head of the Welsh National Opera was handed his new passport during a ceremony at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Warsaw on Saturday. 

During the ceremony where he was handed the passport by Poland’s Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński, Pountney, who has also worked as a director of the English National Opera in London, as well as opera houses in Vienna and Munich, said he was proud of his ties to Polish culture. 

CBE David Pountney receives his new passport during the ceremony at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Warsaw on Saturday. Jacek Turczyk/PAP

He said: “It has been a great privilege and honour to come into contact in my professional career with various cultures, but it is the Polish culture that has played a very special role in my life.”

The 71-year-old director who is also a CBE added: “We [artists] should be opened to incentives from the world, because then various interesting things will come to us” 

Over the last decade, Pountney has done much to promote Polish composers and operas including productions of Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger (2009), Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Passenger (2010), and Andrzej Czajkowski’s The Merchant of Venice at the Bregenz Festival in 2013. Andrzej Rybczyński/PAP

Over the last decade, Pountney has done much to promote Polish composers and operas including productions of Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger (2009), Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Passenger (2010), and Andrzej Czajkowski’s The Merchant of Venice at the Bregenz Festival in 2013. 

In 2015 he directed Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor at the National Opera in Warsaw, and in 2013, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Polish Order of Merit for promoting Polish culture abroad.