The 68-year-old soprano, who has had a highly successful international opera career, will make an appearance in the award-winning show as a houseguest.
Te Kanawa joins a star-studded cast, including veteran performers Maggie Smith and Shirley MaClaine. The series follows the lives of the Crawley family and their staff who run the prestigious and aristocratic Downton manor.
The series has conquered the hearts of the British public and has captivated audiences across the globe, having recently picked up three Emmy awards and two Golden Globes.
Currently in its fourth season of filming, the series will see a multitude of new faces arrive, including the show’s first black character in a story about race relations during the 1920s.
“These new characters can only mean more delicious drama,” Downton Abbey executive producer Rebecca Eaton said.
The news comes after actress Siobhan Finnerman, who plays the role of scheming maid O’Brien, announced she would not be returning to Downton in the upcoming series.