KIRI TE KANAWA soprano/opera
Conversation with Dame Kiri: Going
back to her roots and to the future
said "farewell" to the operatic stage in 2004 when she sang
the title role in Samuel Barber's "Vanessa" at the LA Opera.
In September 2007, one of the world's most celebrated and
beloved sopranos begins a Farewell Tour that will take her to many a
major concert hall well into 2008. This time, New Zealand-born Dame
Kiri Te Kanawa, one of only a few opera luminaries who have become household
names, is saying farewell to the dizzying, jet setting concert schedule
that has been part of her fare since she burst into the international
opera scene in 1971 - as the Countess in a Royal Opera House / Covent
Garden production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. In 1981 she
gained a niche in popular mass culture when she sang Handel's "Let
the Bright Seraphim" at the Royal Wedding that was beamed to over
600 million viewers worldwide. Check out her wide discography.
this Farewell Tour does not spell retirement, as she says in this telephone
interview, which took place in eager anticipation of her final appearance
in Southern California on October 2, 2007 (under the aegis of the Orange
County Philharmonic Society). She is not shutting the door to singing
altogether but moving on to a "calming down" phase in which
she devotes less time to singing and more hours to growing her Kiri
Te Kanawa Foundation and mentoring the next generation of young musicians
from her native New Zealand.
this most delightful interview which we have split into two parts, Dame
Kiri reminisces the highlights of her incredibly glorious career (Part
1) and goes back to her roots in the outbacks of New Zealand and
to the future she has mapped out for the next chapter of her exceptionally
charmed life (Part 2).
[Dame Kiri's October 2, 2007 recital took place at Orange County Performing
Arts Center's Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.]