Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has opened up about her childhood, telling an audience in Whanganui she was beaten by nuns – something which ultimately made her stronger.
The singer revealed the news in a public conversation with Rodney McCann, an opera singer and Baptist minister at Wanganui Collegiate, reports the Wanganui Chronicle.
"I am as tough as I am today because from age 12, when I was at a convent school in Auckland, I was beaten by the nuns," the Chronicle reports Dame Kiri as saying.
"You have to be tough in the opera world or you are not going to make it. Just because you can sing an aria does not make you an opera singer."
Dame Kiri was in Whanganui to teach up-and-coming singers at the New Zealand Opera School.
She also told the crowd of hundreds what it was like to train under well-known teacher Dame Sister Mary Leo and opened up about the sacrifices required to succeed.
"Without that dedicated commitment you won't survive in the opera world ... Remember you don't choose this profession ... it chooses you."