Opera legend Dame Kiri Te Kanawa retires aged 73

One of the greatest sopranos of the modern age has officially announced her retirement at the age of 73.  

New Zealand opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, has not performed publicly for about a year but told the BBC she did not intend to perform in front of an audience again.

'I don't want to hear my voice, it is in the past,' she said. 'When I'm teaching young singers and hearing beautiful young fresh voices, I don't want to put my voice next to theirs.'

Te Kanawa's career spanned more than five decades and included performances at the world's top opera houses, although she is best known as the diva who sang at Prince Charles and Lady Diana's in 1981. 

Britains's Prince Charles met Dame Kiri Te Kanawa at a reception in Auckland in 2012

Britains's Prince Charles met Dame Kiri Te Kanawa at a reception in Auckland in 2012

Over half a billion people heard her singing 'Let the Bright Seraphim' by Handel during the ceremony - but after Diana's death in 1997 she refused to ever sing - or even listen to - the song again.

She said: 'When she died, I felt that I should put that song away forever.

'In sort of respect for her, and the death and everything about it was such a terrible thing, that I never wanted to hear it again.' 

Te Kanawa was also invited to perform at Diana's funeral in 1997, but declined as she was too upset over the princess' death. Pictured: The two together in 1985

Te Kanawa was also invited

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