Kiri Te Kanawa

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Kiri Te Kanawa

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa ONZ DBE AO (March 6, 1944), is a well-known New Zealander opera singer of Maori ancestry. In 1981, she was seen and heard around the world by an estimated 600 million people when she sang Handel's "Let the Bright Seraphim" at the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.

Te Kanawa was born in Gisborne, New Zealand. She was adopted as an infant and little is known about her birth parents. She began her singing career as a mezzo-soprano but later developed into a soprano.

In her teens and early 20s, Te Kanawa was a popular entertainer in New Zealand. Her recording of the "Nuns' Chorus" from the Strauss's operetta Casanova was New Zealand's first-ever gold record.

In 1965, she won a singing competition and received a grant to study in London. In 1966, she enrolled at the London Opera Centre.

In 1971, Te Kanawa made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Countess Almaviva, in The Marriage of Figaro. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1974 as Desdemona.

In subseqent years, she performed at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera, Sydney Opera House, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, San Francisco Opera, Munich and Cologne, adding the Mozart roles of Donna Elvira, Pamina, and Fiordiligi in addition to Italian roles such as Mimi in La bohème. Te Kanawa has a particular affinity for the heroines of Richard Strauss: the Marschallin, the Countess in Capriccio, and the title role in Arabella.

Te Kanawa has been overwhelmed with honours. She was created Dame Commander of The Order of the British Empire in 1982, invested with the Order of Australia in 1990 and awarded the prestigious Order of New Zealand in the 1995 Queen's Birthday Honours List. She has also received honorary degrees from universities in Cambridge, Oxford, Nottingham, Durham, Dundee, Warwick, Chicago, Auckland and Waikato as well as being honorary fellow of Somerville College, Oxford and Wolfson College, Cambridge.

Te Kanawa still performs on the opera stage and in concert halls, but when in New Zealand unwinds at her holiday home in the Bay of Te Kanawa es:Kiri Te Kanawa ro:Kiri Te Kanawa


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