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Duration: 1 hour

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa takes a personal journey exploring the physical and artistic demands of being an international soprano in the 21st century. Filmed on location in New Zealand and New York, we glimpse the many different stresses and rewards of her working life, from visiting a throat specialist for checks on the vocal cords to taking a masterclass at the Metropolitan Opera.

Along with fellow sopranos including Renée Fleming, Diana Damrau and Anna Netrebko, she explains the qualities that separate the great from the merely good. The programme also features a selection of Dame Kiri's own favourite performances of the past, from the early recordings of Dame Nellie Melba to the famous voices of Maria Callas, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Kirsten Flagstad, Leontyne Price and Dame Joan Sutherland. Dame Kiri explains what makes each of these voices unique, revealing the extraordinary diversity that lies behind the simple label 'soprano'.

Last on

Fri 3 Sep 2010 01:00 BBC Four

  • Photo: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

    Photo: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

    One of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th Century Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as the Marschallin in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier at The Metropolitan Opera.

  • Photo: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

    Photo: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

    Dame Kiri Te Kanawa plays Violetta in La Traviata at The Metropolitan Opera.

  • Photo: La Sonnambula

    Photo: La Sonnambula

    Nicolai Gedda as Elvino and Joan Sutherland as Amina in Bellini's La Sonnambula (The Sleepwalker).

  • Opera on the BBC

    Opera on the BBC

    This programme is part of a major new collection across the BBC celebrating opera through the eyes of the world's leading singers, conductors, directors and opera enthusiasts.

    Go to the Opera on the BBC website


Kiri Te Kanawa
Helen Mansfield
Helen Mansfield


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