KIRI TE KANAWA: A Biography by David Fingleton


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Apparently inspired by the fact that soprano Te Kanawa got international exposure when she sang at the Charles/Diana wedding: a highly premature, thoroughly bland biography, with quotes from Kiri, friends, and family. Fingleton competently traces the Te Kanawa career--from New Zealand childhood (European mother, Maori father) to local pop-singing in the early 1960s to more serious studies (with help from the Maori Trust Foundation); from initial mezzo-soprano struggles at the London Opera Centre to the soprano switch (advised by Richard Bonynge) to Covent Garden in Marriage of Figaro; from huzzahs in Paris and N.Y. (an unscheduled debut in Otello at the Met) through marriage and motherhood and illness (1975) to the Don Giovanni film. (""Kiri is almost certainly the film's greatest, most widely acclaimed success."") Throughout, there are extensive excerpts from reviews--including a very few mildly unfavorable ones. There are virtually no sour spots, except for Kiri's chagrin over Reri Grist's ungenerous behavior during that Marriage of Figaro debut. (""I hoped then that I wouldn't be like that when I got to her age!"") And, though aimed primarily at the fans in Britain, this illustrated, amplified souvenir-program may attract a few opera buffs in America--especially considering Te Kanawa's recent appearances in Cosi Fan Tutte and her imminent arrival at the Met in Arabella.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
Publisher: Atheneum