Featuring the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra 
and some of New Zealand’s most extraordinary operatic voices. 

One of the world’s greatest sopranos, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will be honoured at a star-studded gala event on Wednesday, 20 November, celebrating her remarkable career and also the renaming of the Aotea Centre’s ASB Theatre to the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre.

Ticket pre-sales start tomorrow, and all remaining tickets will be available from Ticketmaster from 10am Friday, 6 September. 

A Gala Concert in the Presence of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will feature the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by music director Giordano Bellincampi, together with the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus and some of New Zealand’s finest operatic voices - Anna Leese, Pene Pati and James Ioelu. It will be hosted by MC Jennifer Ward-Lealand

Dame Kiri, New Zealand’s first Grammy Award winner, opera royalty and performer on the most spectacular stages in the world, will be the special guest of honour at this extraordinary event.

Featuring some of her best-loved opera choruses and arias, and highlights from  her career, the gala concert will celebrate and salute Dame Kiri’s formidable talent and contribution to the arts.

The concert will include performances of some of opera’s most spectacular arias and choruses including:

Puccini, Gianni Schicchi, ‘O mio babbino caro’
Donizetti, The Elixir of Love, ‘Una furtiva lagrima’
Verdi, Il Trovatore, ‘Anvil Chorus’
Bizet, The Pearl Fishers, ‘Au font du temple saint’ (‘The Pearl Fishers’ Duet’)
Mozart, Don Giovanni, ‘Catalogue Aria’, as well as a selection of much-loved works by Wagner, Rossini, and Mascagni.

A GALA CONCERT IN THE PRESENCE OF DAME KIRI TE KANAWA, produced by Auckland Live and made possible by the support of ASB Bank, the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and Regional Facilities Auckland. Ensure you are part of this once-in-a-lifetime, historic moment celebrating Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, her contribution to the arts and the renaming of the ASB Theatre in her honour. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will be the guest of honour at the gala, and will not be performing.


Sandra Roberts | sandra@skip.co.nz | 021 525104
Print quality photos available for download at skip.co.nz


Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Kiri Te Kanawa was born in New Zealand, of European and Māori heritage. In 1965 she moved to London to study at the National Opera Studio. 

Her sensational London debut in Figaro gained Kiri Te Kanawa legendary status. She became one of the most famous sopranos in the world, a familiar figure in leading opera houses including Covent Garden, the Metropolitan, Chicago Lyric Opera, Paris Opera, Sydney Opera House, Vienna State Opera, La Scala Milan, San Francisco, Munich, and Cologne.

Dame Kiri’s recordings include sixteen full operas, plus oratorios, song cycles, lieder, and three recordings of all-Māori music. As a soloist at the wedding of HRH Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in St Paul's Cathedral, she faced one of the largest direct telecast audiences of any solo singer in history (estimated to be over 600 million people). The year 1990 saw another record when, during a tour of Australia and New Zealand, her outdoor concert in the city of Auckland attracted a crowd of 140,000.

Kiri Te Kanawa was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1982 and has been conferred with honorary degrees from eleven universities including Oxford and Cambridge. She was invested into the Order of Australia in 1990, and the Order of New Zealand in 1995.

The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation was launched in 2004, providing mentorship, support and financial assistance to dedicated New Zealand singers and musicians. In 2010 she was presented with the British Recording Industry’s Lifetime Achievement award and was named Iconic New Zealander of the Year in 2012.

In 2018 Dame Kiri was appointed a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to music.


About Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre

The new name for the theatre follows a long-held performing arts tradition of recognising an artist who has a special connection with a particular theatre, such as the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa officially opened the Aotea Centre in September 1990, unveiling a 1.6m bronze sculpture of herself by Terry Stringer that still graces the foyer today.

She was the star of the first concert to be held there and followed this up with leading roles in the first two operas staged at the Aotea Centre, La bohème and Don Giovanni.

Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre is New Zealand’s largest tiered auditorium, with seats for more than 2200 theatre-goers. It is the Auckland home of NZ Opera and Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Famous performers to take the spotlight in this theatre over the years include world-renowned Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, and contemporary singers Natalie Cole, Carole King, Tom Jones, and Prince, to name a few.


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About RFA

Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) enriches life in Auckland by engaging people in the arts, environment, sport and events. With our six divisions – Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Conventions, Auckland Live, Auckland Stadiums, Auckland Zoo and New Zealand Maritime Museum – we strive to create rewarding visitor experiences and positive outcomes for Auckland. Our innovative and creative programmes delight more than four million visitors a year as we present engaging and accessible experiences across the city every single day. 

As one of six Auckland Council organisations, we are a charitable trust governed by a board. Our landmark venues include Aotea Centre, Aotea Square, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland Town Hall, Auckland Zoo, Bruce Mason Centre, The Civic, Mt Smart Stadium, New Zealand Maritime Museum, North Harbour Stadium, Queens Wharf and Western Springs Stadium.

ASB and the arts

ASB has long been recognised and respected for the support it gives to the arts community, including theatre sponsorships, across the country. As well as its sponsorship of the ASB Theatre in Aotea Centre since its opening in 1990, the bank is also naming sponsor for the ASB Waterfront Theatre and supports the ASB Theatre in Marlborough and Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch. 

ASB is also the exclusive principal partner for Auckland Theatre Company, Auckland's premier professional theatre company. It is a major partner in important arts and cultural festivals including the Auckland Lantern Festival and the ASB Polyfest in Auckland, and the New Zealand Art Show in Wellington.

ASB has been a proud supporter of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation since it was established in 2004.