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Happy 70th birthday Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Happy 70th birthday
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

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Acclaimed international soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa celebrates her 70th birthday tomorrow, Thursday, March 6 and we’d like you to send her your best wishes

Our first lady of song who “feels more like at 15 year old” will celebrate her significant birthday on stage at Covent Garden tomorrow night (Friday morning NZT), performing in the Royal Opera House’s production of La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) as La Duchess de Crackentorp.

Her birthday performance precedes her return to New Zealand to perform at the ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre on May 24, when she’ll celebrate the elegance of the Classical and Romantic eras.

Experience the lyrical beauty and sublime artistry of one of the world’s great and beloved voices, as Dame Kiri -- accompanied by renowned New Zealand pianist Terence Dennis -- performs personal favourites from Mozart, Handel, Liszt, Puccini, Gusatavino and Canteloube.

Dame Kiri’s vocal beauty, natural serenity, versatility, presence and personality have captivated audiences in leading concert halls throughout the world including The Metropolitan, Vienna State, Sydney Opera House, La Scala, Covent Garden and the Chicago Lyric Opera.

“I was delighted to be invited to perform in recital at the ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre,” says Dame Kiri. “Over the years I have performed many times in Auckland in opera and various concerts but this will be my first recital in my home town. I hope those who attend will enjoy the musical experience. The songs I have selected are all personal favourites. It is always a pleasure to share my music.”

A Sydney critic recently described Kiri as having a “truly unique and beautiful instrument. It is a joy to see such a gracious and dignified artist perform live.”

Terence Dennis is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s finest musicians, and has an international reputation as a highly-sought accompanist. His performances throughout New Zealand and overseas have received high acclaim.

Tickets are available via Ticketmaster. They are strictly limited and are selling quickly.

“Combine the voice with a deep musical intelligence... add an adventurous choice of repertoire and a generous stage presence and you end up with a recital that nears perfection.” SYDNEY MORNING HERALD APRIL 2012

Celebrating a stellar career on stage

Dame Kiri has had many career highlights including most recently playing Dame Nellie Melba in Downton Abbey. Here’s a snapshot of her fabulous life on the stage:

• Had New Zealand's first gold disc, with a popular operatic aria.

• Was 2nd to Dame Malvina Major in the Mobil Song Quest in 1963, and won it in 1965.

• Won the Melbourne Sun-Aria in 1965, and was awarded an Arts Council of Great Britain bursary to study at the London Opera Centre.

• Made her US debut at Santa Fe Opera with her performance as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro in summer 1971, and became internationally famous at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London after singing the role on 1 December 1971.

• In 1977 she appeared at the Royal Opera House in a German/English production of Die Fledermaus. The New Year's Eve performance, conducted by Zubin Mehta, was recorded for television with the cast was virtually duplicated on the later DVD release. The performance was broadcast on TV in the US on New Year's Eve 1979.

• Sang at the San Francisco Opera, the Metropolitan Opera in New York and La Scala in Milan, Italy.

• In 1981 sang at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in St Paul's Cathedral, London.

• She won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 1984, for Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro". It was produced by Christopher Raeburn and the London Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Georg Solti. Also featuring were Thomas Allen, Kurt Moll, Lucia Popp, Samuel Ramey andFrederica von Stade.

• Created Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in 1982, and returned to New Zealand to sing several times, including the New Year millennium concert atGisborne in January 2000.

• In 1984, made a special recording of West Side Story in the leading role of Maria with José Carreras as Tony, and conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

• In 1986, again partnered José Carreras in the recording of the musical South Pacific.

• In 1994 celebrated her 50th birthday, culminating in a spectacular Birthday Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Long awaited return to the Metropolitan Opera as Arabella.

• November 1999, released a new album, Maori Songs.

• Sang in her last opera, Vanessa, in 2004, but continues with recitals and concerts and organising the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, to help young music students.

• On 15 March 2006, Te Kanawa played a role in the 2006 Commonwealth Games. She sang a medley of "Happy Birthday" to Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of her upcoming birthday, and "God Save the Queen".

• 2 December 2007, sang to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal Variety Performance. Her performance included leading the National Anthem, God Save the Queen

• 28 June 2008, she sang Summertime in duet with Portuguese fado singer star Mariza, at Casino Estoril.

• 19 June 2009, inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, performing solo works, and duets with Frederica von Stade and Josh Groban to a crowd of 18,000

• 6 February 2010, returned to the Metropolitan Opera as the Duchess of Krakenthorp in La Fille du Régiment - typically a non-singing character part, but an art song by Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera was interpolated into the production for her to sing.

• April 2010, returned to the Cologne Opera House in Germany for two final performances of the Marschallin in Rosenkavalier.

• 2013, she appeared in Downton Abbey playing Dame Nellie Melba, an Australian operatic soprano.

• Nov 17, 2013 – Released her second Maori album ‘Waiata’.


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