Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has been made an elite Companion of Honour in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours in the UK. Born in New Zealand, the legendary soprano gave her final public performance in 2016, after celebrating her 70th birthday with performances in Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment – her last performances at the Royal Opera House, where she first performed in 1971. Dame Kiri has helped numerous young New Zealand singers and musician with support through the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.
Other stars of the classical world to receive honours include British baritone Simon Keenlyside, who has received a knighthood. The sought-after singer, who has overcome serious vocal problems in recent years, is known for roles including Posa, Macbeth, Billy Budd, Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, Wozzeck, and Prospero in composer Thomas Adès’s The Tempest.
Adès himself, whose other operas include The Exterminating Angel and Powder Her Face, has been awarded a CBE, as has Gillian Moore, Director of Music at the Southbank Centre. Receiving an OBE were mezzo-soprano Alice Coote and Classic FM’s Composer in Residence Debbie Wiseman.
In the dance world, Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet since 2012, has been awarded a CBE, composer and choreographer Hofesh Shechter has been awarded an honorary OBE for services to dance, and Ballet Master/Royal Ballet Principal Character Artist Gary Avis received an MBE.
Actor/writer Emma Thompson was made a Dame, while actors Keira Knightley received an OBE, and Tom Hardy was awarded a CBE. Author Kazuo Ishiguro was given a Knighthood.