Friday, 7 March 2014

She made Maggie Smith cry

Dame Kiri te Kanawa was 70 years old yesterday! To celebrate that fact, she appeared on stage in a new production of Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden last night for the first time in seventeen years, although it may turn out to be her last.

In a typically camp twist, her role as the Duchess of Crackentorp (normally a non-singing part) has been rewritten to allow her to sing an arietta.

Martin Kettle, in his review for The Guardian, says that despite the role deviating from the original: "Most people won't give a damn. Te Kanawa is operatic royalty and, especially for those who heard her in her prime, it's a joy to welcome her back!" Here she is, talking about the production:

Dame Kiri made her debut at Covent Garden in 1971 and achieved global recognition when she sang at the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana ten years later to a worldwide TV audience of 750 million. In an interview for ITN she says this is “most probably” her full opera farewell. “But it doesn’t mean retirement. One door closes, another one opens,” she said.

Last year she played the part of Dame Nellie Melba in Downtown Abbey, and is reported to have reduced the cast and crew to tears when she sang on set.

Here are a couple more examples of her impeccable craft:

With Frederica von Stade - Guarda mia sorella from Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti:

And the rare full video of The Sorceress (Arias by Handel):

La Fille du Regiment is at the Royal Opera House until 18th March 2014.

Dame Kiri Janette Te Kanawa ONZ DBE AC (born 6th March 1944)


  1. FABULOUS! when I die dear, make sure I'm buried in the dames dress from the sorceress. I think I may have just wet a little.

    1. I thought of it for myself, but my bust is too big... Jx

  2. To nice to be Diva but the voice of an angel

    1. Agreed - she's hardly Callas! Jx


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