Announcing the Recipient of the 2022 National Opera Directors Recognition Award

Announcing the Recipient of the 2022 National Opera Directors Recognition Award

Toronto, ON – Association for Opera in Canada is proud to honour an outstanding opera company board member, Carey Newman – Hayalthkin’geme, Vice President of Pacific Opera Victoria’s  Board of Directors, as the 2022 recipient of the Association for Opera in Canada National Opera Directors Recognition Award. 

Now in its 13th year, the National Opera Directors Recognition Award highlights the tenets of good governance, celebrates models of volunteer excellence, and raises the bar for board director commitment.

“The leadership shown by volunteer board members has the power to define the culture of an organization. Especially in challenging times these dedicated volunteers are playing a vital role shaping the civic impact of Canadian opera companies.”  stated Christina Loewen, Executive Director of Association for Opera in Canada. “We are delighted to honour Carey Newman with this award and to celebrate the impact he has made, and continues to make, with Pacific Opera Victoria and by extension to the community of Victoria.”  

One has to only “look up” to see the impact Carey Newman has had on Pacific Opera.   His work Mind Body Spirit, graces the ceiling of the Baumann Centre, Pacific Opera’s community music space. Constructed entirely of yellow cedar, the 1000 sq.ft. acoustic ceiling canopy includes a 10-foot diameter carved medallion depicting three conjoined frogs that convey the everlasting power of sound, of music and of communication. Generously donated by Carey and his family, his work became the centrepiece of a $2.5M fundraising campaign for the creation of the Baumann Centre for Pacific Opera.

As Vice President to the Pacific Opera Victoria Board, Carey plays a leading role with its Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Reconciliation Committee (EDIR). The Committee has been tasked with guiding Pacific Opera in developing strategic action plans to address matters of equity, diversity, inclusion, reconciliation and environmental stewardship. 

Carey’s deeply held beliefs about the interconnection of land and reconciliation have influenced the work of the EDIR committee and have led to a forthcoming artwork, a new kind of totem inspired by both Opera and his commitment to living in good relationship with the land has been conceived of and is being carved by Carey. Made from multiple pieces of sustainably harvested second growth, an innovation that protects old growth cedar trees, the totem will grace the new entrance to the Baumann Centre. Lit from within, this artwork will be a beacon around which all of Pacific Opera’s endeavours to support community can coalesce, while also building upon the work reconciliation and showing respect for the land. 

As a community leader, Carey is inspired by the ethics of collaboration, community and leadership and uses his art, his voice and his influence to bridge cultural gaps and help bring about social change. Pacific Opera is also indebted to Carey and his leadership in supporting the commissioning of Missing a moving, powerful chamber opera in commemoration of the lives and legacies of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.  In addition, Carey was central to the commission of The Flight of the Hummingbird by acclaimed Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulansaas and based on an Indigenous parable from the Quechuan people of South America.

In describing Newman’s impact on Pacific Opera, nominator Ian Rye, Chief Executive Officer, said, “For as long as I have known Carey, I never cease to be moved by his consistently innovative work and his deep passion, respect and tireless dedication to Indigenous culture and its influence and intersection on contemporary art and opera. As a respected member of the Pacific Opera Board, his values of social justice, community responsibility and philanthropy are reflected in the significant contributions he makes as a Board Director. Carey is more than an internationally recognized master carver and artist, he is a mentor, humanitarian, educator, philanthropist and Human Rights activist: he truly is an inspirational individual.  

AOC’s commitment to recognizing excellence in governance is shared with sister association OPERA America through their National Opera Trustee Recognition Award, in which a single honouree is chosen from each of the five OPERA America budget categories. In 2022, OPERA America is pleased to honour Gary Casagrande, MassOpera; Arlene Ferebee, Opera Carolina; John Fitzgerald, IN Series; Susan Marineau, The Santa Fe Opera; and Richard Mize, New Orleans Opera.

Carey Newman will be recognized alongside the five U.S. recipients of the National Opera Trustee Recognition Award at a special dinner in New York, NY, March 2022. We also look forward to recognizing finally, the 2020 recipient of the award Ms Elba Haid of Manitoba Opera, as recognition events in her honour were cancelled in March 2020 as the world went into lockdown.

Find the full press release here