Kiri Te Kanawa
Te Kanawa in 2013
Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron
6 March 1944
|Occupation||Opera singer (Soprano)|
(m. 1967;div. 1997)
Dame Kiri Janette Te Kanawa ONZ CH DBE AC (/ˈkiri te ˈkanawa/); born Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron, 6 March 1944) is a New Zealand soprano. She has a full lyric soprano voice, which has been described as "mellow yet vibrant, warm, ample and unforced".
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded on 4 June 1917 by King George V as a reward for outstanding achievements and is "conferred upon a limited number of persons for whom this special distinction seems to be the most appropriate form of recognition, constituting an honour disassociated either from the acceptance of title or the classification of merit."
A lyric soprano is a type of operatic soprano voice that has a warm quality with a bright, full timbre that can be heard over an orchestra. The lyric soprano voice generally has a higher tessitura than a soubrette and usually plays ingenues and other sympathetic characters in opera. Lyric sopranos have a range from approximately middle C (C4) to "high D" (D6). This is the most common female singing voice. There is a tendency to divide lyric sopranos into two groups: light and full.
Te Kanawa has received accolades in many countries,singing a wide array of works in many languages dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries. She is particularly associated with the works of Mozart, Strauss, Verdi, Handel and Puccini, and has found considerable success in portraying princesses, nobility, and other similar characters on stage.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era.
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; his tone poems, including Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Also sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben, Symphonia Domestica, and An Alpine Symphony; and other instrumental works such as Metamorphosen and his Oboe Concerto. Strauss was also a prominent conductor in Western Europe and the Americas, enjoying quasi-celebrity status as his compositions became standards of orchestral and operatic repertoire.
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him. By his 30s, he had become one of the pre-eminent opera composers in history.
Though she rarely sang opera later in her career, Te Kanawa frequently performed in concert and recital, gave masterclasses, and supported young opera singers in launching their careers.Her final performance was in Ballarat, Australia, in October 2016, but she did not reveal her retirement until September 2017.
Ballarat is a city located on the Yarrowee River in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia. The city has a population of 101,588.
Te Kanawa was born Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron in Gisborne, New Zealand. She has Māori and European ancestry, but little is known about her birth parents—she was adopted as an infant by Thomas Te Kanawa and his wife, Nell. She was educated at St Mary's College, Auckland, and formally trained in operatic singing by Sister Mary Leo. Te Kanawa began her singing career as a mezzo-soprano but developed into a soprano.Her recording of the "Nuns' Chorus" from the Strauss operetta Casanova was the first gold record produced in New Zealand.
Gisborne is a city in northeastern New Zealand and the largest settlement in the Gisborne District. It has a population of 37,200. The district council has its headquarters in Whataupoko, in the central city.
The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages somewhere between 1320 and 1350. Over several centuries in isolation, these settlers developed their own distinctive culture whose language, mythology, crafts and performing arts evolved independently from other eastern Polynesian cultures.
St Mary's College is a year 7 - 13 integrated Catholic girls' high school situated at 11 New Street, Ponsonby, Auckland in New Zealand. It was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1850 and is the oldest existing school in central Auckland.
Te Kanawa met Desmond Park on a blind date in London in August 1967, and they married six weeks later at St Patrick's Cathedral, Auckland.They adopted two children, Antonia (born 1976) and Thomas (born 1979). The couple divorced in 1997. Te Kanawa had never made any attempt to contact her biological parents, but around this time, her half-brother Jim Rawstron contacted her. Initially, she was not willing to meet him, but later agreed. The episode ended bitterly, and she has since reaffirmed her decision to have nothing to do with her birth family.
A blind date is a social engagement between two people who have not previously met, usually arranged by a mutual acquaintance.
The Cathedral of St Patrick and St Joseph is a Catholic church in Auckland CBD, situated on the corner of Federal Street and Wyndham St. It is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Auckland and the cathedral of the Bishop of Auckland. It was founded by Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier, the first Catholic bishop in New Zealand.
In her teens and early 20s, Te Kanawa was a pop star and entertainer at clubs in New Zealand,and regularly appeared in newspapers and magazines. In 1963, she was runner-up to Malvina Major in the Mobil Song Quest with her performance of "Vissi d'arte" from Tosca , and in 1965 she won the same competition. As winner, she received a grant to study in London.
Dame Malvina Lorraine Major is a New Zealand opera singer.
The Lexus Song Quest is a biennial opera singing competition, held in New Zealand since 1956. The competition is managed and presented by the New Zealand International Arts Festival. Winners include the sopranos Dame Malvina Major and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, both of whom were trained by Dame Sister Mary Leo. Kiri Te Kanawa was better known as a pop singer and club entertainer when she won the contest.
"Vissi d'arte" is a soprano aria from act 2 of the opera Tosca by Giacomo Puccini. It is sung by Floria Tosca as she thinks of her fate, how the life of her beloved, Mario Cavaradossi, is at the mercy of Baron Scarpia and why God has seemingly abandoned her. The vocal range is E♭4 to B♭5.
She appeared and sang in the 1966 musical comedy film Don't Let It Get You . In 1966, she won the Melbourne Sun-Aria contest, which Major had also won the previous year. Both singers had been taught by Sister Mary Leo.
In 1966, without an audition, she enrolled at the London Opera Centre to study under Vera Rózsa and James Robertson, who reputedly said Te Kanawa lacked a singing technique when she arrived at the school but that she did have a gift for captivating audiences. [ citation needed ] Praise for her Idamante in Mozart's Idomeneo led to an offer of a three-year contract as junior principal at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden where she made her debut as Xenia in Boris Godunov and a Flower Maiden in Parsifal in 1970. Under director John Copley, Te Kanawa was carefully groomed for the role of the Countess for a December 1971 opening.She first appeared on stage as the Second Lady in Mozart's The Magic Flute , as well as in performances of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas in December 1968 at the Sadler's Wells Theatre. She also sang the title role in Donizetti's Anna Bolena . In 1969, she sang Elena in Rossini's La donna del lago at the Camden Festival, and was also offered the role of the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro after an audition of which the conductor, Colin Davis, said, "I couldn't believe my ears. I've taken thousands of auditions, but it was such a fantastically beautiful voice."
Meanwhile, word of her success had reached John Crosby at the Santa Fe Opera, a summer opera festival in New Mexico, then about to begin its fifteenth season. He cast her in the role of the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro , which opened on 30 July 1971. The performance also featured Frederica von Stade in her debut as Cherubino. "It was two of the newcomers who left the audience dazzled: Frederica von Stade as Cherubino and Te Kanawa as the Countess. Everyone knew at once that these were brilliant finds. History has confirmed that first impression."
On 1 December 1971 at Covent Garden, Te Kanawa repeated her Santa Fe performance and created an international sensation as the Countess: "with 'Porgi amor' Kiri knocked the place flat."This was followed by performances as the Countess at the Opéra National de Lyon and San Francisco Opera in the autumn of 1972. She first sang as Desdemona in Glasgow in 1972, while her Metropolitan Opera début in 1974 as Desdemona in Otello took place at short notice: she replaced an ill Teresa Stratas at the last minute. Te Kanawa sang at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1973, with further débuts in Paris and (1975), Sydney (1976), Milan (1978), Salzburg (1979), and Vienna (1980). In 1982, she gave her only stage performances as Tosca in Paris. In 1989, she added Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlos to her repertory at Chicago, and, in 1990, the Countess in Capriccio , sung first at San Francisco and with equal success at Covent Garden, Glyndebourne and the Metropolitan in 1998.
In subsequent years, Te Kanawa performed at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera, Sydney Opera House, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, San Francisco Opera, Munich and Cologne, adding to her repertoire the Mozart roles of Donna Elvira, Pamina, and Fiordiligi to Italian roles such as Mimi in Puccini's La bohème . She played Donna Elvira in Joseph Losey's 1979 film adaptation of Don Giovanni . She was seen and heard around the world in 1981 by an estimated 600 million people when she sang Handel's "Let the bright Seraphim" at the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer.
In 1984, Leonard Bernstein decided to re-record the musical West Side Story , conducting his own music for the first time. Generally known as the "operatic version", it starred Te Kanawa as Maria, José Carreras as Tony, Tatiana Troyanos as Anita, Kurt Ollmann as Riff, and Marilyn Horne as the offstage voice who sings "Somewhere". Te Kanawa was the first of the singers to join the project, and said at the time "I couldn't believe it ... This was music I'd grown up with, music I'd always wanted to sing."The album won a Grammy Award for Best Cast Show Album in 1985, and the recording process was filmed as a documentary.
Te Kanawa has a particular affinity for the heroines of Richard Strauss. Her first appearance in the title role in Arabella was at the Houston Grand Opera in 1977, followed by the roles of the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier and the Countess in Capriccio. Many performances were given under the baton of Georg Solti and it was with him that in 1981 she made a recordingof The Marriage of Figaro.
In recent years, her appearances onstage have become infrequent, although she remains busy as a concert singer. She appeared in performances in Samuel Barber's Vanessa in Monte Carlo (televised in 2001), with the Washington National Opera (2002), and the Los Angeles Opera in November to December 2004. Te Kanawa has appeared as a Pennington Great Performers series artist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra in 2004.
In April 2010, Te Kanawa sang the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss in two performances at the Cologne Opera in Germany. That same year, she played the spoken part of The Duchess of Krakenthorp in Donizetti's La fille du régiment at the Metropolitan Opera, and sang a tango. She repeated this role at the Met in a revival during the 2011–12 season, repeating it again in Vienna in 2013 and at Covent Garden in March 2014, a run that encompassed her 70th birthday. In the meantime, she performed at Haruhisa Handa's inaugural Tokyo Global Concert at Nakano-Zero Hall in Nakano, Tokyo, Japan, on 10 September 2013.
Te Kanawa was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 1982 Birthday Honours for services to opera.She was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal, and was appointed to the Order of New Zealand in the 1995 Birthday Honours. In the 1990 Australia Day Honours, she was appointed an Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia for services to the arts, particularly opera, and to the community.
She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1981 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.
In 2010, she received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
Te Kanawa was appointed a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the 2018 Birthday Honours for services to music.She received the Order from the Prince of Wales in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 20 December.
Te Kanawa has received honorary degrees from the UK universities of Bath, Cambridge, Dundee, Durham, Nottingham, Oxford, Sunderland, Warwick as well as the Universities of Chicago, Auckland (New Zealand) and Waikato. She is an honorary fellow of Somerville College, Oxford, and Wolfson College, Cambridge. She is also patron of Ringmer Community College, a school in the South-East of England situated not far from Glyndebourne.[ citation needed ]
She was selected as Artist of the Year by Gramophone Magazine in 1982.On 10 June 2008 she received the Edison Classical Music Award during the Edison Classical Music Gala (formerly: 'Grand Gala du Disque') in the Ridderzaal in The Hague. In 2012, Te Kanawa was awarded a World Class New Zealand award in the Iconic New Zealander category.
Te Kanawa founded the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation with the vision "that talented young New Zealand singers and musicians with complete dedication to their art may receive judicious and thoughtful mentoring and support to assist them in realising their dreams."
The foundation manages a trust fund to provide financial and career scholarships to young New Zealand singers and musicians.
In January 2010, Te Kanawa and BBC Radio 2 launched an initiative to find a gifted opera singer of the future. The initiative was the BBC Radio 2 Kiri Prize competition.
Following regional auditions of over 600 aspiring opera singers, 40 were invited to attend masterclasses in London with Te Kanawa, mezzo-soprano Anne Howells and conductor Robin Stapleton. From these masterclasses fifteen singers were selected for the semi-finals which were broadcast on 5 consecutive weeks on BBC Radio 2's Friday Night Is Music Night. The semi-finalists were accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Martin Yates, Richard Balcombe and Roderick Dunk and their performances were judged by Te Kanawa, Anne Howells, Robin Stapleton and director John Cox.
Five singers went through to the final which was broadcast on Radio 2 on 3 September 2010. The winner, soprano Shuna Scott Sendall, performed with Te Kanawa and José Carreras at the BBC Proms in the Park in Hyde Park, London on 11 September 2010, and was given the opportunity to attend a three-week residential course at the Solti Te Kanawa Accademia in Italy.
In a 2003 interview with the Melbourne-based Herald Sun , Te Kanawa criticised the high rate of welfare dependence among the Māori people, angering some of her compatriots.
In 2007, Te Kanawa was sued for breach of contract by the event-management company Leading Edge for cancelling a concert with Australian singer John Farnham. She cancelled after learning that his fans sometimes threw their underwear on stage, which he would then proudly display.The court found that no contract had been made by the two parties, so Te Kanawa was not liable for damages, but Mittane, the company which employs and manages her, was ordered to reimburse Leading Edge A$130,000 for expenditures already incurred.
Ileana Cotrubaș is a Romanian opera soprano whose career spanned from the 1960s to the 1980s. She was much admired for her acting skills and facility for singing opera in many different languages.
Sir Georg Solti, was a Hungarian-born orchestral and operatic conductor, best known for his appearances with opera companies in Munich, Frankfurt and London, and as a long-serving music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Born in Budapest, he studied there with Béla Bartók, Leó Weiner and Ernő Dohnányi. In the 1930s, he was a répétiteur at the Hungarian State Opera and worked at the Salzburg Festival for Arturo Toscanini. His career was interrupted by the rise of the Nazis' influence on Hungarian politics, and being of Jewish background he fled the increasingly harsh Hungarian anti-Jewish laws in 1938. After conducting a season of Russian ballet in London at the Royal Opera House he found refuge in Switzerland, where he remained during the Second World War. Prohibited from conducting there, he earned a living as a pianist.
The Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording has been awarded since 1961. The award was originally titled Best Classical Opera Production. The current title has been used since 1962.
Renée Lynn Fleming is an American soprano, known for performances in opera, concerts, recordings, theater, film, and at major public occasions. Fleming has a full lyric soprano voice. She has performed coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano operatic roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. She has also sung and recorded lieder, chansons, jazz, musical theatre, and indie rock. She speaks fluent German and French, along with limited Italian. Her signature roles include Countess Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Violetta in Verdi's La traviata, the title role in Dvořák's Rusalka, the title role in Massenet's Manon, the title role in Massenet's Thaïs, the title role in Richard Strauss's Arabella, the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, and the Countess in Capriccio.
Helen Jeanette Donath is an American soprano with a career spanning fifty years.
Heather Mary Harper FRSM was a Northern Irish operatic soprano. She was active internationally in both opera and concert. She performed roles such as Helena in Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Opera House, Elsa in Wagner's Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival, and the Countess in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera. She became known internationally when she stepped in for the world premiere of Britten's War Requiem in 1962, and remained associated with the composer's work, but also sang other premieres.
Sir John Michael Pritchard, CBE, born Stanley Frederick Pritchard, was an English conductor. He was known for his interpretations of Mozart operas and for his support of contemporary music.
Frances Yeend was an American classical soprano who had an active international career as a concert and opera singer during the 1940s through the 1960s. She had a long and fruitful association with the New York City Opera (NYCO) between 1948 and 1958, after which she joined the roster of principal sopranos at the Metropolitan Opera where she sang between 1961 and 1963. She also had an extensive concert career, particularly in the United States. By 1963 she had sung in more than 200 orchestral concerts in North American with major symphonies like the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra among others.
Dame Gwyneth Jones, is a Welsh operatic dramatic soprano.
Lucia Popp was a Slovak operatic soprano. She began her career as a soubrette soprano, and later moved into the light-lyric and lyric coloratura soprano repertoire and then the lighter Richard Strauss and Wagner operas. Her career included performances at Vienna State Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, and La Scala. Popp was also a highly regarded recitalist and lieder singer.
Judith Blegen is an American soprano, particularly associated with light lyric roles of the French, Italian and German repertories.
Deborah Cook was an operatic soprano who had a prolific international opera career during the 1970s and 1980s. Her career was primarily focused in Germany where she lived from 1972 through 1985. However, she did travel extensively throughout Europe and in the United States, performing in operas, concerts, recitals, and recording for radio productions. A gifted coloratura soprano, Cook sang a wide repertoire that encompassed English, German, French, and Italian opera from a variety of musical periods. She notably sang in a number of world premieres including Hans Werner Henze's We Come to the River at the Royal Opera, London in 1976.
Spiro Samuel Malas was a Greek-American bass-baritone opera singer and actor.
René Pape is a German operatic bass.
Alessandra Marc is an American dramatic soprano who has appeared at many of the world's opera houses and orchestras. Marc is particularly known for her interpretations of the works of Richard Strauss, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi, music of the Second Viennese School, and the title role in Puccini's Turandot.
Isobel Buchanan is a Scottish operatic soprano.
Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz is a Norwegian/Italian operatic soprano.
Monica Sinclair was a British operatic contralto, who sang many roles with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden during the 1950s and 1960s, and appeared on stage and in recordings with Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Callas, Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Malcolm Sargent and many others. She had a great gift for comedy, and sang in recordings of many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, as well as in recordings from the standard operatic repertory.
The conductor Sir Georg Solti recorded throughout his career for the Decca Record Company. During the 1950s and 1960s Decca had an alliance with RCA Records in the USA and some of Solti's recordings were first issued on the RCA label.
Le nozze di Figaro is a 168-minute studio recording of Mozart's opera, performed by a cast of singers headed by Thomas Allen, Lucia Popp, Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade and Kiri Te Kanawa with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Solti's baton. It was released in 1982.
We met on a blind date in London and wed about six weeks later.