Kiri Te Kanawa, one of the world’s foremost operatic sopranos of the 20th and 21st centuries is stepping out the public limelight for good. The New Zealand native told the BBC, “I don’t want to hear my voice. It’s in the past. When I’m teaching young singers and hearing beautiful young fresh voices, I don’t want to put my voice next to theirs.”

Te Kanawa’s career spanned nearly five decades. She came to international prominence as the Countess Almaviva in a 1971 Covent Garden production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. In fact, Te Kanawa made quite a career out of playing Mozart’s leading ladies. Other staples for the soprano include Rosalinda in J. Strauss Jr.’s Die Fledermaus, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata and the titular role in Puccini’s Tosca.

Now 73, Te Kanawa’s final operatic performance came in 2010 with the Cologne Opera as Maschallin in R. Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier. The announcement of her retirement comes nearly a year after the diva took her final bow at a concert outside Melbourne, Australia. Te Kanawa told the BBC she had no regrets: “I’ve had such an amazing career. Look what I had. The memories are lovely.”

Your grace and crystalline singing voice will be missed!