Song:I Have A Love
Album:Leonard Bernstein Conducts West Side Story: Special Edition
Kiri Te Kanawa is a world famous opera singer. But she started out as a pop singer in her native New Zealand and has performed and recorded non-operatic works occasionally. This 1985 recording of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story is commonly known as The Opera Version as the leads are played by opera singers. Kiri Te Kanawa was born Claire Rawstron Mar. 6, 1944 in Gisborne, New Zealand. She is half Maori. She was adopted as a child and took her adopted father's name and she has always been known as Kiri Te Kanawa. She was formally trained in opera at Saint Mary's College in Aukland, NZ. But she started out singing pop songs in nightclubs and she won the 1965 Mobil Song Quest. She moved to London in 1966 to study at the London Opera Centre. By the 70s, Kiri had become an international star singing in opera houses worldwide and is still considered as one of the great sopranos. Of course West Side Story is probably Leonard Bernstein's most famous work. It had been a hit Broadway show and film. But Bernstein had never conducted a performance of West Side Story. He decided to do that in 1984. He did this in a recording studio and it was filmed to be shown on TV. It was never intended to be performed on the stage. He cast opera singers in the leads including Kiri Te Kanawa, Jose Carreras and Tatiana Troyanos. Bernstein was criticized for that and a lot of critics thought Carreras was miscast. But Kiri was praised and the highlights album did very well. I Have A Love was not in the original show but added later. It is performed at the end of the show. A special edition of West Side Story was released in 2007. It has the complete show and a Making Of West Side Story documentary on DVD. Kiri Te Kanawa is still active as a concert singer but she doesn't perform in operas much anymore. She also started The Kiri Prize in 2010 with the BBC in an effort to discover young opera singers. And she recently played an opera singer on the hit TV series Downton Abbey. kiri Te Kanawa is an opera legend but she has done more than opera. Here's Kiri Te Kanawa with Tatiana Troyanos performing A Boy Like That and I Have A Love on the DVD The Making Of West Side Story.