One small piece of news from this week that I don’t think rises to the level of being sad nor even regrettable, but that twangs a chord of nostalgia in opera fans of my generation: the retirement, announced on Wednesday, of soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. The lady is 73 years old and hasn’t sung in public for a year or so, so the announcement was more in the nature of a punctuation mark than a real surprise, but it’s worth noting anyway.
I saw Dame Kiri at the height of her powers, singing the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier at Covent Garden thirty-two years ago, with the dear old Queen Mother up in her box, well into her eighties at that point but glowing with good cheer, and also no doubt from her daily infusion of martinis and champagne. She lived to be 101 years old, bless her — a model for us all.
May Dame Kiri herself live to be that old, in good health and contentment. Here she is with one of Mozart’s loveliest songs: the Countess, betrayed by her husband. “Dove sono i bei momenti / Di dolcezza e di piacer?”
Where are the lovely momentsDo those last two lines have any relevance to our current domestic politics? Discuss among yourselves.
Of sweetness and pleasure?
Where have the promises gone
That came from those lying lips?
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Kiri Te Kanawa, "Dove sono."]
46m51s — Well dressing fail. (In Derbyshire.)
53m41s — Signoff. (A star bows out.)