This press agent inspired EMI bio of Dame Kiri surely does air brush out a
First, that December 1, 1971 Covent Garden "Figaro" was not Ms. te Kanawa's
debut in that house. She had already been heard there as a Flower Maiden
in "Parsifal" and again that year as the Priestess in "Aida," and I believe
other small roles as well.
Also, no mention in the EMI "air brush" job is the fact that Dame Kiri had
sung the Countess at the Sante Fe Festival prior to the Covent Garden
"Figaro." At Sante Fe, her Cherubino was none other than Flicka (Fredrica
von Stade) and the cast also included Donald Gramm, Michael Devlin (can't
be sure as to who was Count and who was Figaro). But anyway, it must have
been a memory-laiden event for those lucky enough to have been at Sante Fe
that 1971 summer!
The distinguished editor of British Opera, commenting after the Dec. 1,
1971 performance said of "Figaro," said... "Covent Garden must not let this
great talent (Kiri te Kanawa) be seduced away by offers of this and that
But hey, she had already been "seduced" off to Sante Fe but Kiri never
returned there afterweards.... but the Countess did become one of her
Looking back, it was very clever of John Crosby, et al at Sante Fe to have
had the presence of mind to have signed up the relatively unknown Kiri te
Kanawa prior to her "leap into fame."