Kiri Te Kanawa gives ‘Downton’ an operatic touch

LONDON (AP) — “Downton Abbey,” the world’s favorite country-house soap, is getting a dose of opera.

Producers say soprano Kiri Te Kanawa will appear in the upcoming fourth season as real-life diva Nellie Melba.

The New Zealand-born singer says “I couldn’t say yes fast enough” to appearing in a show she loves — and enjoyed her time on set so much she named her new dog Abbey.

Te Kanawa sang for journalists at a preview of the new season on Tuesday. In the new series, Melba — a huge star of the early 20th century — joins the aristocratic Grantham clan for a house party.

The costume drama about the family and servants in an English stately home returns to British television this fall, and airs in the U.S. on PBS in January.

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