Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Patron and jury member
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa moved rapidly into the front rank of international opera after her sensational debut as the Countess Le nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House in 1971. Since then, her lyric soprano voice has become one of the most famous in the world, especially in the works of Mozart, Richard Strauss, Verdi and Puccini.
As well as performing on the greatest opera stages worldwide, Dame Kiri has made countless appearances with many great orchestras, conductors and pianists, her wide repertoire also embracing contemporary popular music. She has recorded extensively, across the fields of opera, oratorio, art and popular song, both on CD and DVD.
In 2004 she launched the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, a charity which supports New Zealand and international singers at the outset of their careers. As part of its objective, in 2012 the Foundation created scholarships at both the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. Always passionate about young singers, Dame Kiri regularly conducts master classes and coaching sessions in many parts of the world. She returns to the opera stage in Vienna this year, reprising her role as the Duchess of Krakenthorp, in La fille du regiment.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa holds honorary doctorates from ten universities and is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music. She was awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1982 in 1990, she received the Order of Australia and in 1995 the Order of New Zealand.