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     Kanawa, Dame Kiri Te (6th March 1944-Present)

    She is an opera singer born in Gisborne, New Zealand who was adopted when a baby, but it is known she is of Maori and European descent, as are her adoptive parents.  Studying with Dame Sister Mary Leo, RSM, at Saint Mary's College in Auckland, she started singing as a mezzo-soprano and would become a soprano later. She began her performing career as a teenager when she started singing in pop bands and by the time she was in her 20s she was popular in many of New Zealand's clubs.  After winning the Mobil Song Quest in 1965 she studied in London on a scholarship and enrolled in the London Opera Centre without an audition in 1966.  Making her first performance in 1968 she went on to carve out a career that has taken her to all corners of the world and working with many acclaimed artists in numerous major venues of the world.  Although having seen major success in the opera world over two decades, she came to the forefront of public attention when she sang at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.  After that she was seen on television regularly and became known to millions.  In 1982 Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and she would also honour her again in the 1995 Birthday Honours list where she was awarded the Order of New Zealand.  She would, in turn, sing a "Happy Birthday/God Save the Queen" medley to the Queen at the 2006 Commonwealth Games to recognise her up and coming birthday.  Her final opera performance was in Samuel Barber's Vanessa in 2004, but carrying on in the industry she has created the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, which assists music students and continues to give concerts and recitals.  Having made numerous recordings over the years, she won New Zealand's first ever gold disc for Nun's Story when she was in her teens/early 20s, and has appeared with many artists from the operatic and pop world including Paul McCartney on his Liverpool Oratorio .


    The Abbey Road Ensemble recordings


    Leroy Anderson

    Sleigh Ride

    EMI 56176 (CD: Our Christmas Songs For You)

    Conductor - Jonathan Tunick

    London Voices

    Soprano - Kiri Te Kanawa

    Tenor - Roberto Alagna

    Baritone - Thomas Hampson



    1. http://www.kiritekanawa.org/
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiri_Te_Kanawa
    3. http://library.christchurch.org.nz/kids/famousnewzealanders/kiri.asp
    4. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0853490/


    Here she is singing "World in Union"....

















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