Mississippi Museum receives portrait of opera singer Newman

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Bobby Dennis, executive director of the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture holds a portrait of opera singer and music educator Daisy Cecelia Newman, who was born in the state and had an international career that included a nomination for a Tony Award, Thursday, December 30, 2021, to Natchez, Miss. Newman’s portrait will be included in “The Black Butterfly”, an exhibit about his life at the museum. (Roscoe Barnes III / Democrat Natchez via AP)

PA

A Mississippi museum acquired a portrait of opera singer and music educator Daisy Cecelia Newman, who was born in the state and had an international career that included a nomination for a Tony Award.

Newman’s portrait will be included in “The Black Butterfly,” an exhibit about his life at the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture, according to a press release from the city’s tourism agency, Visit Natchez.

Newman was born in Natchez on January 5, 1947. She was 74 when she died on February 10.

“This artifact is an important contribution to our collection,” museum executive director Bobby Dennis said in the press release. “I knew Mrs. Newman. … His talent and his accolades went far beyond the Mississippi. His praise was international.

The exhibition begins on February 14. She will include videos of her performances and additional photos of her sister.

Newman received a Bachelor of Music from Cleveland State University. She also studied at the Oberlin Music Conservatory and the Oglebay Opera Institute.

Newman sang on five continents and worked with Leonard Bernstein and Robert Shaw, according to a biography published by an arts group she led. As a soprano soloist, one of the roles she played most often was that of Cio-Cio-San in “Madame Butterfly”. His Tony nomination was for a “Porgy and Bess” production.

During a 30-year career as an administrator, Newman worked in the education departments of the New York Philharmonic and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In 2003, she became Executive Director of the Young Musicians Program at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2013, she founded the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, based in Berkeley.

Dennis said the museum’s acquisition of Newman’s portrait was made possible by his sister, Dorothy Hills. The portrait was on display during Newman’s memorial service on August 15 at the Natchez Convention Center. It arrived at the museum on December 15 and was presented by the former mayor of Natchez Philip West; Mary White, co-founder of the museum; and Jimmy Ware, president of Natchez Business and Civic League.

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