Published On: Mon, Jan 13th, 2014

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa wows on ‘Downton Abbey’ season 4

Downton Abbey’s Sunday episode featured Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the amazng soprano from New Zealand to play Dame Nellie Melba.

Sunday’s episode on PBS had revealed Melba, who was from Australia and was a “guest performer,” at the Crawley house, singing to the family after dinner the aria “O Mio Babbino, Caro” from Puccini’s opera “Gianni Schicchi.”

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Dame Kiri Te Kanawa performs during season four of Downton Abbey on PBS season 2 is set in 1922, so Puccini wrote “Gianni Schicchi” just a few years before in 1918, making it a relatively new piece of music as far for the Crawley family.

Melba, whose real name was Helen Porter Mitchell, was famous for her diverse repertoire, including Mimi in Puccini’s “La Boheme.”

The singer was one of the biggest opera stars of her generation and even had the tea-time snack Melba toast named in her honor.

Fans of Te Kanawa may remember that she memorably sang “O Mio Babbino, Caro” on the soundtrack for the 1986 movie A Room with a View, which starred Downton Abbey’s Maggie Smith.


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- Stephen is a contributor and writer on The Dispatch. Stephen is the founder and editor for the Steven Spielberg Fan Club website and contributes to pop culture stories on The Dispatch, especially upcoming movie news. Beginning in 2016, Stephen took the role of Managing Editor for the Tampa Dispatch.

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