Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to retire from opera stage?

5 March 2014, 10:07 | Updated: 18 September 2014, 15:22

New Zealand opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has suggested that she will retire from the opera stage, on the eve of her 70th birthday.

The soprano told ITV News that her cameo performance at the Royal Opera House's production of Donizetti's La Fille Du Regiment would be her last on the operatic stage.

However, she added: "I don't think it's the final, because you can't say final… It's a small part, so it's not going to take up too much of my energy except for my knees. My knees don't like the stage."

The soprano, who recently took a small role in popular ITV drama Downton Abbey, also confirmed that while she may retire from the operatic stage, she had a "whole year of work" lined up beyond La Fille Du Regiment.

The popular Donizetti opera was the first performance that Te Kanawa saw at Covent Garden's Royal Opera House, and she appears alongside tenor Juan Diego Florez.

In 2009 Te Kanawa made a similar announcement, blaming fatigue on her decision to quit, but she then returned to the stage in Vienna.