March 4, 2013 / 4:41 PM / 5 years ago

Opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa to act, sing in Downton Abbey

LONDON (Reuters) - New Zealand opera star Kiri Te Kanawa will act, and sing, in an upcoming episode of the hit British stately home drama “Downton Abbey”, a spokeswoman for the ITV series said on Monday.

The 68-year-old singer will play a house guest staying at Downton Abbey, joining the award-winning cast in the fourth season of the period drama that has won large audiences in Britain and the United States.

Created by British screenwriter Julian Fellowes, the award-winning Downton Abbey follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their staff, and has starred veteran performers Maggie Smith and Shirley MacLaine.

Te Kanawa is best known in Britain for her performance of Handel’s “Let the Bright Seraphim” at the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Diana watched by a global audience of hundreds of millions of people.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith

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