Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has spoken out in support of Irish singer Tara Erraught after a series of reviews criticised her appearance.
The Glyndebourne singer was called "stocky" and "dumpy" by reviewers after performing as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier - a male role traditionally played by a female performer.
Dame Kiri, who recently made a guest appearance in hit show Downton Abbey, said Erraught was "absolutely gorgeous" but had had a "costume disaster".
Asked what she would say to Erraught, Dame Kiri told Britain's BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "I'd say burn the papers, don't listen to a single person, go and sit with friends who are absolutely lovely and love you... don't talk about this and get on with your life."
She also pleaded with critics " please don't destroy her, it's cruel".
One of the reviewers in Britain who criticised her appearance, Richard Morrison of The Times, said his description of her character as "unsightly and unappealing" had been taken out of context.
Writing in today's paper, he said he had been talking about "the characterisation of Octavian, not the woman playing her".
But he went on to say: "Several musicians I count as close friends (yes, I still have a few) tell me that what I wrote would have upset greatly the promising young singer who took the role of Octavian. I regret that."