Metropolitan Opera Guild's Annual Luncheon to Pay Tribute to Kiri Te Kanawa

Classic Arts News   Metropolitan Opera Guild's Annual Luncheon to Pay Tribute to Kiri Te Kanawa
On the afternoon of Saturday, February 9, 1974, a surprised young soprano named Kiri Te Kanawa was called to replace an indisposed colleague for the Metropolitan Opera's matinee performance. The opera was Verdi's Otello, with the formidable Jon Vickers in the title role and the late Thomas Stewart as Iago, and Dame Kiri proved herself a megastar from her very first note.

Now, 33 years since her memorable Met debut, she is making a rare visit to New York City to be honored at this year's Metropolitan Opera Guild Luncheon on Wednesday, April 18 at the Waldorf-Astoria.

(A day earlier, on April 17, she will also make a personal appearance at the Metropolitan Opera Shop, to greet her fans and sign CDs from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm.)

The annual Guild Luncheon always draws a large and enthusiastic crowd, and offers not only a fine meal, but also spoken, filmed, and even sung tributes to the honoree. This year, Kiri's career-long colleague and friend, Frederica von Stade, will do the vocal honors — the two brought down the house at last season's Met farewell to Joseph Volpe, when they sang a duet from Mozart's CosÐ fan tutte.

In addition to the vocal tribute, Maestro Lorin Maazel will pay Dame Kiri a spoken one, and there will be nostalgic and rare video clips of the soprano in performance, as well as the screening of a new video biography. Among the honored guests in attendance will be a host of singers who have worked with Dame Kiri, as well as admirers from the generations before and after her — from the distaff side alone, Licia Albanese, Martina Arroyo, Stephanie Blythe, Barbara Cook, Mignon Dunn, Barbara Frittoli, Maria Guleghina, Marilyn Horne, Regina Resnik, Beverly Sills, RisêŠ Stevens, Ruth Ann Swenson, and Benita Valente are expected, while Julius Rudel, Harry Bicket, James Morris, Russell Braun, Lawrence Brownlee, and Massimo Giordano are among the men who have signed on to attend.

Tickets to the Luncheon are $250 and $400. For information, please call 1-212-769-7009, or visit the Guild's website,

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