SOMEONE YOU SHOULD KNOW: VISUALLY IMPAIRED OPERA SINGER - VICTORIA ORUWARI

Hailed as Nigeria's first qualified Opera singer, Victoria Oruwari is a teacher and a vocal workshop leader. Victoria is currently a teacher of singing and the Choir director at Acton high school, an associate music mentor with the Drake music charity, and a recitalist.

After obtaining a BMUS hons at the Trinity College of music, Victoria completed a postgraduate Diploma in Voice where she passed with distinction. She has since pursued her singing career by giving recitals in venues including the Regent’s hall, the Charlton house both of which are situated in London, and the musical society of Nigeria’s Ajip recital hall Lagos Nigeria.

Victoria sings a broad range of repertoire ranging from the early classical to the modern day musical theatre, traditional folk songs, and jazz. Her tutors include: Wendy Eathorne, Robert Aldwinkle, Linda Hirst, John Wakefield, Robert Purvis, and Mary King. Future plans include: Producing albums, giving more recital, singing, and mentoring.


One would expect Victoria to shy away from questions about how she lost her sight. On the contrary, she answered questions about her appearance frankly and without any bitterness or resentment over what might have been. ‘‘I was born sighted. I lost my sight at the age of six going on seven. I had a few complications during a cataract operation; things kind of spiraled out of control. My eyes reacted funny to some treatment I was given and I developed secondary glaucoma, which is like high blood pressure in the eye. I was flown abroad to have that treated and in the course of that, I lost my sight."

Being from an affluent home, if Victoria was sequestered away after she got blind, it would not have been news to anyone. As it turned out, the contrary was the case. Her family simply refused to fold their hands and bemoan their fate. ‘‘A friend of my sister‘s told my mum about Pacelli School. It is the one and only school for the blind in Lagos. My mum wasn‘t going to keep me at home because I lost my sight. All my siblings are highly qualified people academically, so they were not willing to let me languish at home. I am the last of four children. So, I relocated to Lagos from Port Harcourt because Pacelli was a boarding school."

Victoria’s face lighted up as she recalled her time at Pacelli. ‘‘Pacelli was interesting. It was nice meeting other kids that were blind. There were also some not-so-nice experiences, but I suppose it was because it was a boarding school and I was a child; a very spoilt one at that. If I didn‘t get my way at home, I threw a tantrum and everybody listened. But here my tantrums didn‘t count.‘‘ From Pacelli, Victoria moved on to Queen‘s College, Yaba for her secondary education. ‘‘QC was another interesting place because I had to mix with sighted children. It was here I started to develop a thick skin because sometimes you get people teasing you in class. If you don‘t have a thick skin, then you get swamped with depression. Anyway, it was just a phase because I made some long lasting friendships there, including one of my best friends in the country. The teachers were very enlightened people and would never let you get away with anything because you were blind.” Victoria expressed much gratitude for the education she received at Queens College. ‘‘I went to London and could talk alongside the A level students because I went to QC and also because of the support I got from my family.‘‘

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