When the Cardiff Singer of the World competition began at the weekend, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, now aged 77, was the patron. The Daily Telegraph published an interview with the great diva, in which she talked about her career, her family and her two homes, in New Zealand and Sussex. But there was no mention of one of her favourite pastimes: fishing.
Years ago I stood at Covent Garden to hear Kiri sing the role of Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro. In the summer of 2004 I was fishing in Iceland when – mirabile dictu - Kiri walked into the lodge where I was staying with a few friends. She and her ghillie/friend joined us for dinner, when all the talk was of fishing – of the salmon we had caught that day, the condition of the river, the prospects for tomorrow. Clearly Kiri was an experienced fisherwoman and she spoke enthusiastically of the trout fishing she enjoyed in New Zealand.
All I wanted to do was ask her to sing the Countess’s famous aria, Dove sono? But of course I never did.