I have a special place in my heart for the great opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa. News of her official retirement brought back memories of a CD signing event at the old Tower Records at Columbus and Bay in SF. It must have been the mid-1980’s. I had just begun my career as a classical DJ at KKHI radio. I had only recently been schooled in who Dame Kiri was and how to pronounce her unusual name. My teacher in all things opera at that time was Keith Lockhart, the legendary morning host on KKHI. What I remember of meeting and spending the evening with Kiri was her unfailing graciousness, with her sometimes rabid fans lined up for miles to get her autograph and toward me. She was the un-Diva and could not have been more down to earth. I still recall her telling me how hard it was for her to be away from her, then very young children as she traveled around the world. She had a painting made of them and brought it with her from hotel to hotel. She told me that each night she would blow a kiss to the painting before she turned off the light.

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