Kiri Te Kanawa
- Category : Entertain-Music-Vocalist-Opera
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Dominion 1
Australian opera soprano, known for repertoire ranging from opera to "West Side Story" to folk songs.
Te Kanawa, who is part-Polynesian, was adopted as a child, and raised by a Maori father and a mother of European ancestry. School was not important to her, but because of her voice, she was brought to London in 1966 to study in a program for gifted Australians and others. Academically weak and lacking in discipline, she was branded as frivolous. But an early master class with the likes of Joan Sutherland and others taught her she was not a mezzo as she thought but a soprano. Early performances earned her important favorable reviews from leading British critics.
By 1970, she was considered a success and had a three-year contract as junior principal to the Royal Opera at Covent Garden. She became a star in a 1971 production of Mozart’s "The Marriage of Figaro." She gained international fame again when she sang at the much publicized wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.
She is married to Australian Desmond Park, and they have two children.