Case of flying underpants lands Kiri in court

The opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa pulled out of a series of joint concerts with the Australian pop star John Farnham because she heard that fans threw their underwear at him, a court in Sydney heard yesterday.

An Australian concert promoter, Leading Edge Events, is suing Dame Kiri and her former manager, Nick Grace, for £237,000 for alleged breach of contract. She withdrew from performances scheduled to take place in Sydney and Melbourne in 2005.

The New South Wales Supreme Court heard that Dame Kiri had serious doubts about Farnham's live shows, which she regarded as "absolutely horrendous". She also expressed concerns that Farnham "was very talkative" on stage, said Richard Evans, a lawyer for Leading Edge.

Dame Kiri, a New Zealander, would have received a minimum of £80,000 for each of the three concerts, for which she and Farnham were billed as "two great voices".

Mr Evans told the court that Leading Edge had spent more than £100,000 in preparation for the concerts. The expenses included a helicopter that the company chartered for Dame Kiri in 2004 so she could travel quickly from a meeting in Auckland to her 60th birthday celebrations on New Zealand's North Island.

Mr Evans said the soprano had told Mr Grace of her concerns about performing with Farnham, one of Australia's best known pop singers, but the manager did not pass on that information to the promoters.

"On many occasions, Dame Kiri told Mr Grace that she was not committed and had some reservations about co-performing with John Farnham," he said. Her concerns were heightened after she watched recordings of Farnham in concert.

The opera singer thought that Farnham was disturbingly chatty on stage, and was taken aback to see ladies' underwear being thrown at him. "It would have become apparent to Mr Grace that Dame Kiri might not agree to perform with John Farnham, yet that was never ... properly communicated to the plaintiff," Mr Evans said.

"So the plaintiff was led into error in thinking if someone's pants ended up on the stage that was not enough to dissuade Dame Kiri from performing with John Farnham."

Dame Kiri was not in court yesterday. She has launched her own legal action against Mr Grace over the failed concerts.

After the concerts were cancelled, Farnham was quoted as saying that he understood why Dame Kiri required total silence on stage. "Kiri is obviously a dame, and I mean that with great respect," he said.

Farnham, 57, has been performing for four decades, but he does not have the international reputation of Dame Kiri, one of the world's best known opera divas.

She cancelled the concert series in March 2004, despite receiving assurances from Frank Williams, the head of Leading Edge, that no underwear would be thrown when the pair appeared together. She also cited concerns about payment methods and issues about artistic control.

Mr Evans told the court about other diva-style behaviour by Dame Kiri, who refused to acknowledge Mr Williams's business partner, Eileen Newbury, when the pair were introduced at a restaurant. He said that the soprano also spent some time "remonstrating" with a waitress over a glass of mineral water.

According to media reports, Dame Kiri will appear in court to give evidence later this week.

The hearing continues.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

film
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?