Dame Kiri sued for refusing to sing – Opera star wouldn’t perform with Farnham

Copyright 2005 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved

OPERA superstar Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is being sued for $300,000 by a promoter for refusing to perform with John Farnham earlier this year.

Leading Edge Events is suing the New Zealand-born superstar in the NSW Supreme Court tomorrow for failing to perform with Farnham in February.

Farnham and Dame Kiri were scheduled to perform in a series of “unique” concerts at the Domain in Sydney and historic Werribee Park Mansion in Victoria.

The pairing of Australia’s most famous rocker with the world’s most famous opera diva was expected to attract sellout crowds to the three concerts.

But Dame Kiri, 61, pulled out after the concerts were announced in 2004 and after corporations rushed to buy tables at the concerts for $9500 each.

“Kiri is obviously a dame and I mean that with great respect,” said Farnham in an interview after the tour was cancelled.

“She is probably not used to an audience being so demonstrative and demands absolute silence when she works.”

Dame Kiri also apparently thought Farnham was too chatty on stage. “There’s truth to that,” confirmed Farnham.

The three series were promoted as “Two Great Voices” with the naming rights alone being offered for $900,000 and a range of six-figure sponsorship deals.

“We would like to invite you to join us at the launch of this most exciting, original and memorable entertainment event,” Dame Kiri and Farnham said in a joint personal invitation to the corporate sponsorship launch in March, 2004.

“We have long wished for the opportunity to celebrate our music together and now we can, in three magical evenings in February 2005.

“For the first time ever we will perform, both together and individually, across an extraordinarily wide repertoire of opera and rock’n’roll, creating an evening we hope you will never forget.

“Imagine the perfect pitch and enormous range of John’s voice with my bel canto soprano, blending together with Orchestra Victoria’s 85 piece orchestra and the fabulous John Farnham Band.” But Dame Kiri will be singing a different tune in the NSW Supreme Court tomorrow when Frank Williams and Eileen Newbury of Leading Edge

Events start proceedings to recover money lost in the failed concerts.

Dame Kiri gained legendary status overnight after a sensational debut as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1971.

Since then she has performed on the world’s grandest stages, including Chicago Lyric Opera, Vienna State, the San Francisco, Munich, Cologne and Sydney Opera House.

She sang at the wedding for Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981 and has performed with such conductors as Zubin Mehta and Sir Colin Davis.

A keen golfer, angler and shooter, Dame Kiri is rumoured to have paid ex-husband Des Paris a $21 million settlement after receiving a telegram from him requesting a divorce in 1997.

PHILLIP KOCH MATP – 508 Words 03 July 2005 Sunday Telegraph

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