Kiri Te Kanawa gained legendary status almost overnight after her sensational debut as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1971. From then, she moved rapidly into the front rank of international opera, and has become one of the most famous sopranos in the world.
At the time of her operatic debut she was already an experienced concert and recording artist, and equally at home in front of the cameras as on stage.
A Gala Concert was given in February 2004 in Auckland, to launch The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, a charity which aims to give support and financial aid to dedicated New Zealand singers and musicians. Dame Kiri continues to devote her experience and expertise to organising and appearing at further concerts and Galas to raise funds for this Foundation and the UK based Friends of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. She has also become the Founding Artistic Director of the Solti Te Kanawa Accadamia di Bel Canto, a summer course based in Italy, training the next generation of opera singers.
Throughout 2008 and 2009 Dame Kiri (in addition to her mentoring , teaching and fund raising) has continued to perform in concert halls and arenas throughout the world, with performances in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, England, Brazil, Turkey, Jersey, the USA, Canada, Hungary, Serbia, Greece, Spain, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany. In June 2009 Dame Kiri was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.