Kiri Te Kanawa: an Exacting Dame

Friday, April 15, 2011

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


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Comments [5]

Lyne from New Jersey USA

Thank you for this interview, Dame Kiri is absolutely awesome I am glad she is sharing herself again. The love of music and the respect for the instrument of voice is necessary for people to understand the artistry, the effort and soul that is given when one sings, especially at that level. Thank you for having it online to listen to after the broadcast.
I can also completely understand the respect Dame Kiri has for bands like the Grateful Dead, and I am not surprised by it, because when you know music you realize the importance of its need to be creative, varied and true to its composer.

Apr. 19 2011 10:41 AM

Was Dame Kiri really serious when she said she's a fan of the bands Chicago and Grateful Dead? I just thought it was cute and strange at the same time. Also, I didn't quite get the "royal walk" anecdote. Can someone explain it?

Apr. 18 2011 04:08 PM

Hi, Marsha -

The final piece in the program was a song by Richard Strauss called 'Morgen'. Thanks for your interest!


Apr. 18 2011 01:27 PM

Heard Midge talkingall week about the inteview with Kiri, so tuned in today. Just want to say it was a nice diversion on such a rainy day.

Apr. 16 2011 03:38 PM
Marsha Andrews from uws manhattan

Does anyone know what the last piece was that Kiri Te Kanawa sang at the end of the interview with Midge?

Apr. 16 2011 03:37 PM

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