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Sir Georg Solti introduced soprano Kiri Te Kanawa to Chicago audiences in May 1978, in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem. Her program biography from those debut performances is here.

The reviews only briefly mentioned the vocal soloists. In the Chicago Tribune: “Miss Te Kanawa and [Bernd] Weikl, both making subscription-series debuts, were a beautifully matched pair of young, fresh-voiced soloists. She seemed a mite cautious at the outset of her solo, but her message of consolation had a billowing purity of sound that was irresistible.” And in the Chicago Sun-Times: “Two soloists are required and both were known to us by reputation, but it was splendid to have singers of the standard of soprano Kiri Te Kanawa and baritone Bernd Weikl on stage to sustain the consistency of achievement in this performance at the highest level.” The complete reviews are here and here.

In addition to the performances at Orchestra Hall, Brahms’s Requiem was also performed at Carnegie Hall on May 12, 1978.

Te Kanawa also appeared with Solti at Orchestra Hall in Duparc’s Melodies Francaises and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony on March 23, 24, 25, and 26, 1983; in Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion on March 19 and 21, 1987; in excerpts from Verdi’s Otello (with Plácido Domingo) on a special concert celebrating Solti’s seventy-fifth birthday on October 9, 1987; and in complete performances of Otello in 1991 at Orchestra Hall (April 8 and 12) and Carnegie Hall (April 16 and 19).

Solti and Te Kanawa made a number of recordings together. With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, they collaborated on Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem in 1978, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony in 1983, Handel’s Messiah in 1984, Bach’s Saint Mathew Passion in 1987, and Verdi’s Otello in 1991.

Te Kanawa also recorded under Solti’s baton in Bizet’s Carmen in 1975 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in 1981 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Puccini’s Tosca in 1984 with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, and in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra in 1988 with The Royal Opera (for video). (All recordings were released by London Records.)

In 1990, Solti and Te Kanawa collaborated on a special video project, entitled The Maestro and the Diva, directed by Humphrey Burton. The program candidly showed the two of them in rehearsal (in Solti’s home studio in London) and performance of Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the Vienna Philharmonic. An audio recording was also released and also included several more Strauss songs with Solti at the piano.

Several additional excerpts from the program are also available here.

The attached YouTube video is not the property of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. We just thought it was interesting.

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