“When I perform Strauss, it is as if the music fits me like a glove. My voice seems to lie in a happy area in this music, which is lyrical and passionate at the same time.”–Kiri te KanawaClaire Mary Teresa Rawstron was born on this day in Gisborne, on the North Island of New Zealand in 1944. She is 69 years old.
She was adopted by Thomas and Nell Te Kanawa as an infant. She went to school at Saint Mary’s College in Auckland where she was trained to sing. In her teens and 20’s she was a popular singer in New Zealand. “She enrolled in the London Opera Center in 1966, and had her Covent Garden debut 1 December 1971.” [IMDb — Kiri Te Kanawa] Her first performance on stage was as the Second Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute.
She “was granted a three-year contract as a junior principal at Covent Garden.” [Bach Contatas.com] and soon came to…
international attention singing the role of Xenia in Boris Godunov and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro….after her successes at Covent Garden, Kiri Te Kanawa performed her Metropolitan Opera debut as Desdemona in Otello (replacing an ill Theresa Stratas). Her other performances include Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Arabella in Arabella, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Violetta in La Traviata, Tosca in Tosca, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and, most notably, her numerous performances as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.[Ibid]
Te Kanawa sang “Let the Bright Seraphim” at Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding. Her “O Mio Babbino Caro,” and “Ch’il bel sogno di Doretta,” by Puccini, were featured in 1986’s “A Room With A View.”
She was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1990, awarded the Order of New Zealand in the 1995, made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1973, and made “Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1982 for her services to music.” [IMDb — Kiri Te Kanawa]
But why am I TALKING about her when I could be letting you HEAR her sing ?
Here’s O Mio Babbino Caro by Puchinni
And how about a little Mozart on a snowy afternoon? Here’s Porgi amor from Le nozze di Figaro
Lastly here’s Schubert’s Ave Maria…