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WQXR Features

Kiri Te Kanawa: an Exacting Dame

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Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has dominated international opera stages, concert and recital halls for more than forty years. In her trailblazing career, the New Zealand native has applied her bright lyric soprano to operas of Mozart and Strauss, as well as Verdi, Handel and Puccini.

In New York she became a fixture at the Met starting in 1974 but perhaps her most famous appearance was at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. The following year she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. This month comes another honor: she’s one of five recipients at the Opera News Awards.

Te Kawana recently visited the WQXR studios and spoke with host Midge Woolsey about her homeland, her favorite roles, a famously difficult relationship with crossover music and her experience attending a Grateful Dead concert.

Produced by Mike Shobe & Brian Wise