|Year of Birth:||1944|
Dame Kiri Janette Te Kanawa ONZ CH DBE AC (/ˌkɪri tɪ ˈkɑːnəwə/; born Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron, 6 March 1944) is a New Zealand soprano. She has a full lyric soprano voice, which has been described as "mellow yet vibrant, warm, ample and unforced".
Te Kanawa has received accolades in many countries, singing a wide array of works in many languages dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries. She is particularly associated with the works of Mozart, Strauss, Verdi, Handel and Puccini, and has found considerable success in portraying princesses, nobility, and other similar characters on stage.
Though she rarely sang opera later in her career, Te Kanawa frequently performed in concert and recital, gave masterclasses, and supported young opera singers in launching their careers. Her final performance was in Ballarat, Australia, in October 2016, but she did not reveal her retirement until September 2017.
Te Kanawa was born Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron in Gisborne, New Zealand. She has Māori and European ancestry, but little is known about her birth parents—she was adopted as an infant by Thomas Te Kanawa and his wife, Nell. She was educated at St Mary's College, Auckland, and formally trained in operatic singing by Sister Mary Leo. Te Kanawa began her singing career as a mezzo-soprano but developed into a soprano. Her recording of the "Nuns' Chorus" from the Strauss operetta Casanova was the first gold record produced in New Zealand.