Rhinegold Photo credit: BBC Wales/Warren Orchard
Dame Kiri is also patron of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa quits public performance

10:04, 13th September 2017

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has announced her retirement from public performance.

The 73-year-old soprano, who retired from operatic roles in 2009, said she had stopped performing a year ago, but has only just revealed her decision.

Her final performance was a concert in Ballarat, Australia in October 2016. ‘Before I’d gone on, I said, right, this it. And that was the end.’

She told the BBC it took her five years ‘to say the goodbye in my own mind’, but says she has no regrets and doesn’t miss singing.

‘I’ve had such an amazing career,’ she said. ‘I don’t want to hear my voice – it is in the past. When I’m teaching young singers and hearing beautiful young fresh voices, I don’t want to put my voice next to theirs.’

She has pledged to continue working with her foundation, which provides financial support and mentoring for singers from her native New Zealand.

Te Kanawa shot to fame after she was cast as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro at Covent Garden in 1971. Her five decade career saw her perform at leading opera houses and concert halls across the world, receiving numerous accolades. She was closely associated with the music of Mozart, Strauss, Verdi, Handel and Puccini.
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