Early in 1990, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the world's best-loved operatic soprano, made a triumphant return to her native New Zealand to give three concerts, culminating in an outdoor event in Wellington, where an audience of mo... more »re than 75,000 people enjoyed music ranging from Puccini to Gershwin. Just over a year later, Kiri delighted an invited audience at Christopher Wren's Chapel of the Royal Navy College in Greenwich, London, with a program of Handel and Mozart. Highlights from these memorable performances in two very different settings provide a perfect showcase for Kiri's unique voice.« less
"This is Kiri Te Kanawa at her finest. On this excellently transferred DVD we get to see her perform in her home country New Zealand and at a beautiful English chapel. The energy and excitement of the outdoor NZ concert really breathe through the screen. She sings "Io son l'umile ancella," "In quelle trine morbide," "Pace, pace, mio dio," "Tu, che di gel sei cinta," AND "Ch'il bel sogno di Doretta," one of her signature arias, which is mysteriously OMITTED from the listing on the back and inside covers! (It is itself worth the price of the DVD.) The NZ selection concludes with two Maori songs, one of them sung a capella, and "I Could Have Danced All Night." The second half of the program consists of two Handel arias ("Non disperar" and "Care selve") and Mozart's "Exsultate, jubilate!" in its entirety. Everyone familiar with Kiri Te Kanawa knows that she never leaves one of her headlining concerts without singing "O mio babbino caro", which here runs during the end credits. A very satisfying program. Note that between a few segments there is commentary by Kiri, which ties the whole program together very nicely. No subtitles. Excellent sound. Winner of the Silver Medal in Arts Performance at the 1993 NY Intl Film and TV Festival."
Kiri in the Outback
Brian J Hay | 08/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful must have video!With the great Kiri Te Kanawa in her best form and old friend Robin Stapleton conducting this is one for all music lovers.Kiri has a wonderful range in dynmanics.She has worked with greats from Berstein to Lloyd Webber himself so her vast knowledge of all music types comes into play here.Plus you have the stunning outblack.This is not the first time Dame Kiri has sung in the outback.Its wonderful to have the whole concert on view here."
Impressive performances from one of the great sopranos
Sea Air | 01/17/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Kiri Te Kanawa's since I began vocal studies more than 15 years ago. The ease with which she sang and the creamy, gorgeous voice was something to behold. So, when I saw that she released a DVD, and of performances I didn't already own on video, I couldn't wait to buy a copy. Owning this DVD is worth the anticipation I went through! There are two concerts presented, from about 10 years ago, although there is only about an hour's worth of music included. (Why, I'd like to know.) The first concert, despite being an outdoor performance, was recorded very well, although there is a tiny bit of feedback present at times. She sings Puccini, Verdi and some popular songs. The outdoor crowd adds a great deal of excitement to this performance (and goose bumps). In the second half, a more subdued location and program (Handel, Mozart) bring about a different air altogether. Though her voice doesn't (and never did) have the agility of, say, a true coloratura, it is admirable and something to which we mere mortals should aspire. She is a true Mozartean singer. My voice teacher always told me, if you can master singing the works of Mozart, you can sing just about anything. Dame Kiri is living proof of that. I will recommend this DVD to anyone, whether they be fan or student, or both."
Home and Afar with Music that Touches the Heart
Brian J Hay | Sarnia, Ontario Canada | 03/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like many I found the path to the world of opera by way of the music of Mozart. Kiri Te Kanawa, on the strength of her performance as Donna Elvira in the Joseph Losey production of Don Giovanni, was the first soprano whose singing literally brought me to tears. Even this pair of untrained ears noted the natural beauty of her voice and the breathtaking range of color shadings she was able to give to it. The way she was able to glide effortlessly (or seemed to anyway) through "Ah chi mi dice mai" left me stunned, moved and speechless. To this day her rendition of that piece is still my favoured one and it's stood up against some stiff competition (the second recording I heard of the piece was Elizabeth Schwarzkopf singing under Carlo Maria Guilini). I became a fan then and have been one since.That this set contained a complete performance of Mozart's "Exsultate Jubilate" alone made buying it a no-brainer. The piece is one of the most joyous and beautiful works by the youthful Mozart and Dame Kiri's treatment of it is second to none. Mozart preferred solid song structure and subtle forms of expression to bravura coloratura passages, using the last only when the effect would truly serve the music. To this end his music and Kiri Te Kanawa's voice are a perfect match. She has the capacity to deliver coloratura passages beautifully (and does) but thanks to her enormous range of shadings along with love and feel for the music itself delivers a rendition that's better the second time it's heard. That's when all the little treasures Mozart hid in the music begin revealing themselves. Dame Kiri, to her credit, serves them with her voice as opposed to things being the other way around as is so often the case with recording stars.The rest of this set fares just as well. Dame Kiri loves music and not just one form of it. Her programs always offer both operatic highlights and popular standards. The Lerner/Loewe gem "I Could Have Danced All Night" gets a completely different treatment than in the film but (thanks again to her intuitive musicality) crosses genres well. Her signature song "Pokarekare Ana", as always, is sung beautifully. It's here, without accompaniment from the Orchestra where one understands just how lovely her voice is, and how good she is. The instruments are never missed. The sets have a few surprises. Handel's work is less popular in the operatic repertoire than that of Puccini, Mozart or Verdi but it gets a decent representation here. "Non Disperar" from Julius Ceasar and "Care Selve" from "Atlanta" with their transparent and light scoring common to Baroque opera contrast nicely with the rest of the program. As with everything else (though the assertion may be getting redundant) they are given beautiful and radiant treatment by Dame Kiri. Another surprise is a sort of an "unofficial Easter egg" in the form of "Ch'il bel sogno di Doretta" which immediately follows "Tu, Che di Gel" from Turandot. It's not listed on either cover, nor in the liner notes or even in the chapter listings on the DVD itself but is lovely and shows the full range of this woman's magnificent voice well. Because of this it earns terms like "Easter Egg" or "bonus" rather than "packaging blunder" which is what it probably was. There are other problems with the disc. The sound isn't what it could be. It's far from bad but is not great either. Essentially, it's CD quality (and pretty good CD quality at that) but doesn't stand up with the best of what DVD has to offer. That it's an older recording that was made for television doesn't excuse this. Image (the same label) has a recording of Lohengrin out from the same time period and the quality of the sound there simply leaves this in the dust. Listen to those trombones (for instance) in the Prelude to Act III on a decent set up and you'll hear it. I'm guessing, but the transfer and the bit rates the recording was sampled with are probably at fault. Another is the lack of subtitles. Granted, this set comes from a pair of concerts, not a full blown opera so the subtitles aren't really necessary, but they would have been nice to have.These are minor complaints though and nothing that prevents the music from winning the day. This is a wonderful set of performances of great music from one of this age's greatest singers and is easily appreciated as such. The end of this set when the credits are running as her rendition of Puccini's "O Mio Babbino Caro" washes over the audience is an exquisite moment. To listen to this and not be touched one would have to be without a heart.What can be said but, "thank you" Dame Kiri and "thank you again"."
A must view for every Kiri fan!
Stacey Martin | New Zealand | 12/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This video is magic - I admired Kiri as a singer before I watched this video, but now I really admire her as a person as well. I've been a fan for years but you see the 'real' Kiri. She's vulnerable, struggles with success and has the same problems as the rest of us. Her voice is divine - there are a few Maori Songs on this video, also the final scene from Arabella and Capriccio - both wonderful! I loved the whole insight into her life and voice. But what came across to me most, is that she is so nice, and NOT your usual Diva - she tries her best to be good to work with, and is always pleasant. All her colleagues enjoyed working with her on the video, it was so obvious. WONDERFUL!"