A futura temporada – 2009 / 2010 – será (?) a derradeira da carreira da grande soprano Te Kanawa.
Confesso que preferia vê-la retirada desde há mais de quinze anos...
Em 2001, em Paris, apresentou-se num recital confrangedor. Saí a meio.
Prefiri guardá-la na memória como a melhor Condessa (As Bodas de Fígaro), Fiordiligi, Donna Elvira e Marchelina da sua geração.
«The news that Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has announced her retirement from the operatic stage will come as a real surprise only to those who thought she had retired from it already. Her last performance in a full staged production was in the title role of Samuel Barber's Vanessa in Los Angeles late in 2004 – an appearance that many at the time assumed was a farewell. But it has been a decade since anyone has seen her in costume in one of her signature roles, as a Mozart or Strauss heroine.
So why announce a farewell at all? Plenty of opera singers have tripped up on this, confidently claiming a performance will be their last, only to pop up on the schedules for another cheerio a season or two later. But it's certainly good publicity for the Cologne opera house. In roles such as the Countess in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, with which she made her breakthrough at Covent Garden aged only 27, Te Kanawa's glamorous, magnetic stage presence and effortlessly beautiful voice made her box-office gold almost throughout her career. And that career had been going for a good decade by the time of the Royal wedding appearance that turned her into an international household name (and which spawned the kind of biographies that delighted in telling us that, on that particular morning, she'd forgotten to team her voluminous yellow and pink coat with any knickers).
While Cologne may not be the obvious venue, her choice of role – the Marschallin, the "older woman" in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, who poignantly gives up her teenage lover Octavian and steers him into the arms of a suitably young match – is apt: this is one of the great roles open to more mature sopranos (even though the character is supposed to be only in her 30s), and it's one in which Te Kanawa was justly celebrated. Reports of her (relatively) recent appearances on stage in other roles suggest that she will still be able to do it at least some justice. But still, her fans may prefer to remember her in performances such as this one, from the New York Met back in 1982, when she was in her absolute prime (...).
The Cologne performances aren't all. In the weeks before them, audiences at the Met will get a chance to see her again on stage, albeit in a very different kind of part: the Duchess of Krakenthorp in Laurent Pelly's much-travelled production of Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment. Though this is usually a spoken character role, there are precedents for it being taken by a mature and much-adored diva: when Pelly's production played in Vienna in 2007, it was sung by the indomitable Montserrat Caballé. But a killer soprano voice is not a prerequisite. At Covent Garden, we had Dawn French. And in the Barcelona revival next year, the Duchess will be a man in drag. It's a good job Te Kanawa is stopping off at the Met en route to Cologne rather than the other way round: this would hardly have been fitting farewell material for one of opera's grande dames.»