Executive Team

David Pountney Chief Executive and Artistic Director

David Pountney 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. He has directed many 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. As a freelance director from 1992 he worked regularly in Zurich, at Vienna State Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper as well as opera houses in America and Japan, and in the UK has a long-standing association with Opera North. 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. Recent engagements include Prince IgorThe Passenger (Houston and New York); 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 has been Intendant since 2003. Since 2011 he has been Chief Executive and Artistic Director of WNO, where he has directed Berg’s Lulu, Rossini’s Guillaume Tell and Mosè in Egitto. 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 Osterreich in 2014. 

Lothar Koenigs Music Director

Lothar Koenigs became Music Director of Welsh National Opera in 2009.

He was born in Aachen and studied piano and conducting in Cologne. From 1999 – 2003 he was Music Director in Osnabrück, Germany. Since 2003 his guest engagements have included the Vienna State Opera, the Metropolitan Opera New York, Munich, Dresden, La Scala, Hamburg, Brussels and Lyon in a wide repertoire ranging from Mozart to Berg, with a particular emphasis on the operas of Wagner, Strauss and Janáček.

He worked for the first time with the Orchestra of WNO in January 2005, and was appointed to the position of Music Director in 2008, with effect from the beginning of the 2009/10 season. In 2010 he conducted the company’s highly acclaimed new production of Die Meistersinger which he also led in a televised concert at the 2010 BBC Proms. Lothar Koenigs also appears each season with the Orchestra of WNO in concert at St David’s Hall Cardiff.

Symphonic engagements include the Hallé, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Radio Orchestra Saarbrücken, RAI Orchestra Turin, DSO Berlin, Orchestra dell´Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome, Rotterdam Philharmonic; Orchestra Sinfonica de Sao Paulo;  RAI Orchestra (Turin), Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin; Wiener Symphoniker; Dresden Philharmoniker in Verona; and concerts at the Tanglewood Festival.

Recent and future engagements include Tristan und Isolde, Don Giovanni, Katya Kabanova, Fidelio, Ariadne auf Naxos, Turandot (WNO), Wozzeck, Ariadne and Lohengrin for the Bavarian State Opera in  Munich, Elektra in La Monnaie, Mahagonny in Cologne as well as concert performances in the UK and Europe. In August 2012 he conducted a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde at the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival, and in summer 2013 he will conduct Act 3 of Die Walküre with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Bryn Terfel at the Tanglewood Festival.

Peter Bellingham Managing Director

Peter studied music at Winchester School of Art and the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. At the RNCM he quickly reached the conclusion that his career opportunities were more routed in administration than performance. He used the opportunity of a year as sabbatical president of the students’ union to develop basic admin skills prior to embarking on a career in arts management that now spans over 30 years.

His first role was as a Management Trainee at the Fulcrum Centre, Slough, a multi-purpose, mixed programme venue housing. That provided an opportunity to experience all aspects of theatre management. Following this, he decided to specialise in marketing, with subsequent roles at the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven and Northern Ballet Theatre. For the years between 1977 and 1983, summer holiday breaks were spent assisting at the Cheltenham International Festival of Music.

In 1985, following his time at Northern Ballet Theatre, he moved to Bradford to run the music programme at St. George’s Hall, inheriting from his predecessor a season that included the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Dresden Staatskapelle and Czech Philharmonic orchestras. Within a few months he was asked to transfer to the refurbished Alhambra Theatre, Bradford to coordinate its reopening, with subsequent roles in general management, marketing and programming. Amongst his programming highlights were bringing the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and Nederlans Dans Theater 1 back to the country, both after long absences from the UK.

In 1994 Peter joined WNO as Director of Marketing. During the next few years he established his position within the senior management team and, in 2001, was asked to project manage the company’s ‘stabilisation’ programme. In 2002 he was appointed as the WNO’s first Executive Director, with overall responsibility for the company’s operational and business management; in 2009, in recognition of an increased remit, he became Managing Director.