So La Cieca thinks it’s time to declare this officially: Kiri te Kanawa has become a mean old bat. The downbeat diva, most recently in the headlines for her controversial anti-panty policy, has gone and dished Hayley Westenra, who apparently is a New Zealand popera singer. (Well, to be perfectly fair, “apparently” isn’t so accurate a way of putting it. Ms. Westenra’s debut CD currently ranks as “the biggest-selling classical album of the 21st century.” Really, cher public, you should keep La Cieca up to date on stuff like this.)

kiri_cranky.jpgAnyway, the cranky Kiwi gave an interview to Canvas magazine (yes, again, La Cieca feels like she’s totally in the dark here) where she sniped that 20-year-old Hayley is “…not in my world, she’s never been in it at all.”

Te Kanawa then widened the scope of her outrage, insisting that pop opera performers in general “…are all fake singers, they sing with a microphone. People call them up-and-coming, but they never last. They are the new fakes for the new generation.”

Unfortunately La Cieca was not on hand to eavesdrop on the rest of the interview, but she dearly hopes that Dame Kiri next said something like, “Look at them in the front offices — the masterminds! They took the idols and smashed them — the Fairbanks and the Gilberts, the Valentinos! And who have we got now? Some nobodies!”

Incidentally, Dame Kiri’s next engagement (Tuesday, February 26) is a guest appearance on the New Zealand version of the television show “Dancing with the Stars.”