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Acclaimed alumnus, Canadian opera singer joins University of Victoria staff

Hiring aligns with school’s plan to embed Indigenous ways of knowing, being and learning
Critically acclaimed Canadian opera singer and distinguished alumni award winner Marion Newman joins the teaching faculty at the UVic School of Music. (Courtesy of the University of Victoria)

Critically acclaimed Canadian opera singer Marion Newman returns to the University of Victoria this summer to teach at the School of Music.

A 2022 UVic Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Newman’s traditional name is Nege’ga and she is of Kwagiulth and Stó:lō First Nations descent with English, Irish and Scottish heritage.

“I’m really looking forward to this. It’s always a lovely circular journey when alumni return and become part of the faculty,” the mezzo-soprano said in a news release.

Newman joins the School of Music as an assistant professor on July 1. Currently based in Toronto, she plans to continue hosting CBC’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera from Victoria.

No stranger to local audiences, Newman recently appeared in City Opera Vancouver’s Songs from the Uproar and is currently workshopping a new opera based on Thomas King’s 2020 comedic novel Indians on Vacation. She was also lauded for her performances in Pacific Opera Victoria’s Missing, which gave voice – in English and Gitksan – to stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

“Singing in Indigenous languages is something I’ve been doing for a number of years now,” she said. “It’s always exciting to immerse yourself in that way as a character to sing words … you start to understand what the general sound of the language is and how it grew out of the place and the people.”

Newman’s hiring aligns with UVic’s Indigenous plan called, Xʷkʷənəŋ istəl | W̱ȻENEṈISTEL | Helping to move each other forward, where Indigenous ways of knowing, being and learning are embedded into programs, systems and organizational structure.

“Part of what’s exciting about coming to UVic is that wish to actually do what’s needed,” Newman said. “There are a lot of places that think they’re ready to have this conversation, but they’re not really ready for the consequences of those conversations.”

Recognized as one of Canada’s leading voice programs, the School of Music is a perfect fit for Newman, who will join the internationally acclaimed likes of professors and opera performers Benjamin Butterfield and Anne Grimm, as well as a team of faculty covering program areas ranging from performance, composition and musicology to music technology, music education and music theory.

“Given her perspective, local connections and international reach, she’s positioned to have a profound impact on artistic and cultural life in Victoria, and will further UVic’s reputation as a destination for mindful and engaged artists,” said School of Music director Alexis Luko.

About the Author: Saanich News Staff

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