Kiri Te Kanawa Announces Retirement

Lawrence Kim
September 14, 2017

Kiri found worldwide fame after starring in The Marriage of Figaro at the Royal Opera House in London in 1971 and has appeared at all of the world's major concert halls.

The year prior, she performed before an global TV audience of 600 million when she gave a rendition of Let the Bright Seraphim by George Frideric Handel at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Te Kanawa said she stopped performing a year ago, but had not announced her retirement until now. "And that was the end".

She has not even listened to the piece again since then.

Dame Kiri said she has no regrets and does not miss singing. "Before I had gone on, I said, right, this it".

"I never actually came off stage saying, 'I've really nailed it.' Never". I always thought there was a mistake in it.

In 1981, an estimated 600 million people around the world heard Te Kanawa sing when she performed Let the Bright Seraphim by Handel at the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

"I was told two or three months before, you will sing this song", she said. "Can you imagine holding that inside you for months and months, not being able to mention it to anyone?"

Te Kanawa was also invited to perform at Diana's funeral in 1997, but declined as she was too upset over the princess' death.

She was adamant she wanted to decide "when it was going to be the last note". She said: "Look what I had".

New Zealand opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, hailed as one of the greatest sopranos of the modern age, officially announced her retirement Wednesday at the age of 73.

She has criticised television talent shows such as Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor for providing instant fame without the necessary training to sustain careers.

The opera star, who in 2013 appeared in a guest role in TV series Downton Abbey, now plans to divert all her energies to coaching young New Zealand singers through her Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.

"If you win, it is "zing", there you are, and for five minutes you are famous".

Te Kanawa was born Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron in Gisborne, but took on the name of her adoptive father Thomas Te Kanawa.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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