Dame Kiri Te Kanawa quits public performance

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa performs with the Vector Wellington Orchestra in 2008

Opera legend Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has told BBC that she will never sing in public again.

During a career that lasted almost 50 years, the 73-year-old lyric soprano from New Zealand, who is of both European and Maori heritage, performed on all of the world's great opera and concert stages with a luscious, famously creamy sound.

She said: "It is in the past".

"I don't want to hear my voice".

She stopped performing the most demanding of her signature opera roles in 2004 and, while still making concert appearances, concentrated on a foundation to encourage young New Zealand opera singers and musicians. But she will perhaps be remembered best for her rendition of Handel's Let the Bright Seraphim at the royal wedding 1981, watched by an estimated 600 million people. "It is in the past", she told the BBC. "And that was the end", she said.

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New Zealand opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, hailed as one of the greatest sopranos of the modern age, officially announced her retirement Wednesday at the age of 73.

"It got me a lot of recognition", she later said. "Can you imagine holding that inside you for months and months, not being able to mention it to anyone?" After Princess Diana's death, she has never performed the song again to honour her memory.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa performs with the Vector Wellington Orchestra in 2008. "When she died, I felt that I should put that song away forever". In 2013, she played another famed opera Dame, Nellie Melba, on the TV series Downton Abbey.

And she is being honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards.

She added that she had "never really achieved perfection of the 100% that I would have liked to".

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