Kiri Te Kanawa hits out at skinny culture in opera singers

11 June 2013, 09:59 | Updated: 18 September 2014, 14:51

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has condemned the idea that female opera singers should have to be skinny to be successful.

In an interview with Radio Times, the Kiwi soprano and operatic stalwart has attacked the skinny culture of the classical music industry, claiming that young singers need "beef on you if you're going to sing".

She continued: "When I was at the Met, I would see these young girls, starving hungry but terrified to put on weight. They couldn't even go down to the canteen and eat in front of anyone because they were being watched."

However, she did admit that she did try to lose weight during her career, but was always conscious of "how much I couldn't or shouldn't take off."

Drawing parallels between young opera singers and Hollywood actresses, Te Kanawa also said that TV talent shows like Britain's Got Talent are unlikely to unearth any major new talents, commenting: "I'm always wary of someone who is a bus driver and decides, aged 28, that they want to be a singer."