NAPAC acquires portrait of deceased opera singer – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper
NATCHEZ – A portrait of late opera singer Daisy C. Newman is on display at the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture. The image will be part of the upcoming “Black Butterfly” exhibition, which is slated to open in February 2022.
âThis artefact is an important contribution to our collection,â said Bobby Dennis, executive director of the museum. âI knew Mrs. Newman. She was from Natchez. His talent and his accolades went far beyond the Mississippi. His praise was international.
In addition to working with Leonard Bernstein and Robert Shaw, among other greats, Newman has performed on five continents. Dennis said his life story holds a special place in Natchez’s story.
Newman was born on January 5, 1947 in Natchez. She was the daughter of David Newman Sr. and Hattie Bivens. The young singer graduated from Sadie V. Thompson High School in 1965 and went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Cleveland State University. She also studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Oglebay Opera Institute.
Newman performed as a soprano soloist. One of her most popular performances was that of Cio-Cio San in Madame Butterfly. She also worked as a music teacher.
Newman died on February 10, 2021 at the age of 74.
âMs. Newman’s life story gives us not only a glimpse of her, but a glimpse into the character of the citizens of Natchez,â Dennis said. âEducation, hard work and persistence help us overcome all obstacles and achieve the things that make a difference in our community and our country. “
The museum’s acquisition of Newman’s portrait was made possible by his sister, Dorothy Hills, according to Dennis. âMs. Hills wanted us to have it,â he said, adding that it was on display at Newman’s memorial service, which was held Aug. 15, 2021 at the Natchez Convention Center.
On Wednesday December 15, 2021, the portrait arrived at the museum. It was introduced by Philip West, former mayor of Natchez; Mary White, co-founder of the Natchez Association for the Preservation of African-American Culture; and Jimmy Ware, president of Natchez Business and Civic League.
âThe museum is very grateful to Ms. Dorothy Hills for entrusting us with letting the world see this story through the eyes of those who knew her sister, Daisy Newman,â said Dennis.
Visitors from the American Duchess were present during the presentation. “They became very excited as they felt delighted to be approached by Mr West, the first black mayor of Natchez since the reconstruction,” said Dennis. âIt was truly a visit with history.â
Newman has been described as “an exceptional woman who has dedicated herself to uplifting the lives of those she has met,” according to her obituary published by Berkeleyside in April 2021.