The biography of Kiri Te Kanawa, one of the most well-known and well-loved personalities in music, revealing for the first time the dramatic story of her origins, career and marital life.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa exudes an exoticism, glamour and appeal unmatched by any other diva of her generation. She is the most widely recorded and most instantly recognisable female face in the world of classical music. Yet there are few among her followers who really know the amazing story behind the public figure.
Kiri has brought opera’s most passionate and powerful roles to memorable life. More than any other woman she has been responsible for broadening the appeal of opera and serious music. Kiri: Her Unsung Story charts her remarkable rise from unwanted baby and raw prodigy to polished performer; from national celebrity when, at just twenty-two, she left her homeland, to international icon. Sydney, La Scala, Covent Garden, the New York Met and her scene-stealing performance at the Prince and Princess of Wales’s wedding in 1981 – Kiri has risen to the pinnacle of her profession.
Born Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron fifty-five years ago, the illegitimate daughter of an Irish immigrant and a Maori, Kiri was adopted when she was six months old. For many years she never knew where she came from or who her real parents were. The moving and unforgettable story that is her real life is told for the first time. The highs, and the lows – her volatile private life, the backstage fighting, her two miscarriages and her failure to have children, and the eventual break-up of her marriage to Australian mining engineer Desmond Park – are revealed together with the full details of her past.
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‘An honest picture… told in vivid detail’
No other diva has exuded the glamour, appeal and sheer musical excitement of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. She is the most loved, the most widely recorded and the most instantly recognizable female face in the classical music world. More than any other female performer she has been responsible for broadening opera’s audience.
Yet in the tradition of the truly great divas, Kiri Te Kanawais an enigma, possessing a complex nature she attributes to the mixture of native Maori and European genes that moulded her into the artist and personality she is today. Born in New Zealand in 1944, she was adopted as a six month old baby. The mystery surrounding her birth has simultaneously cast a shroud over her life and acted as a inspirational force, a sense of rootlessness driving a deep desire to make something of her life. Her origins have been the subect of myth and malicious rumour, invention and inveterate lies. Until now.
From humble New Zealand origins to the world-famous stages of Covent Garden and the New York Met, 'Kiri: Her Unsung Story' chronicles the highs and lows of the stunning career and volatile private life of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Stephen d’Antal is a British journalist contributing to magazines and newspapers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. He lives with his family in Auckland, New Zealand.
Garry Jenkins is a former 'Daily Mail'
journalist and the author of biographies of the actors Daniel Day-Lewis and Harrison Ford. He lives with his wife and daughter in Blackheath, London
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Book Description HarperCollins Entertainment, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0006530613