Grand dame’s swansong
After 40 years enthralling audiences the world over, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will give her last operatic performance next April at the Cologne Opera in Germany, playing Marschallin in Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier — a role that she has made her own. Dame Kiri, 65, said of the Cologne performance: “It will be my last. It’s not as if I want to do it on a regular basis now, because it’s exhausting.” The soprano’s last performance in a full staged production was in the title role of Samuel Barber’s Vanessa in Los Angeles in late 2004 — an appearance that many at the time assumed was her operatic swansong, but Dame Kiri insists she never retired. “The press retired me,” she said. “I have not been singing opera very much but I still sing a lot of concerts.” Te Kanawa became a household name in 1981 when she was heard by 600 million people singing at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.