Story: Opera and musical theatre

Opera stars: Kiri Te Kanawa (3rd of 5)

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa admires a stained glass window in St Paul's Cathedral, Dunedin, which depicts her as Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Kiri Te Kanawa is New Zealand's best-known international opera star. Born in Gisborne in 1944, of Māori and Pākehā parents, she was adopted as a child and educated at St Mary's College in Auckland, where she was trained by well-known singing teacher, Sister Mary Leo. After winning the Mobil Song Quest in 1965 and the Melbourne Sun Aria contest in 1966, she studied at the London Opera Centre and began a stellar operatic career in which she captivated audiences with her breathtakingly lovely lyric soprano voice and dignified stage presence. One of her acclaimed roles was the Countess in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. A leading operatic soprano on the international stage in the 1970s and 1980s, she gradually moved towards performing in concerts and recitals, and mentoring young singers.

In this clip she sings 'Chi sa, chi sa, qual sia', an aria written by Mozart for insertion in another composer’s opera in 1789.

About this item

Otago Daily Times
Reference: 27 March 2013, p. 1
Photograph by Gerard O'Brien

Permission of the Otago Daily Times must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Music courtesy of Kiwi Pacific Records International

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How to cite this page:

Lindis Taylor, 'Opera and musical theatre - Singers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/music/41903/opera-stars-kiri-te-kanawa (accessed 23 May 2017)

Story by Lindis Taylor, published 22 Oct 2014