“I did it my way” : From the archive of Dame Malvina Major

“I did it my way” From the archive of Dame Malvina Major
Date Tuesday 5 December 2023 - Friday 8 March 2024
Where Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts Foyer Galleries
Contact Cerys Davidson
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

National and internationally regarded opera soprano and renowned teacher of voice, Dame Malvina Major has recently gifted her archive of personal papers spanning her career to the University of Waikato Library | Te Whare Pukapuka. This exhibition showcases a preview into her personal archive, sharing the touch points where it is particularly rich in detail from performances to moments throughout her career.

Dame Malvina’s personal papers give a view behind the performance curtain into the life of one of New Zealand’s great opera singers. The broad range of material shares all the details of her career including adjudicator notes from early exams and competitions to correspondence, planning around performances, itineraries, programmes, photography, and recordings.  

Through the varied and rich archival material her unique journey from the Waikato to Auckland, Melbourne, London, Europe and back again is charted for the benefit of the next generations of emerging artists. The range of material in the archive illustrates the depth and breadth of her impact and contribution to the arts community, particularly students navigating their own pathway as performing artists.

This exhibition gives insight into some of this material and the resource which is available now here at the University. Brought together for display it illustrates, as put by Dame Malvina herself: “when I look back at my career, I think of the words of Frank Sinatra – I did it my way”, encouraging the next generation to find their own unique path.