The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

November 25, 2012

Tenor finds success on opera stage

GEORGETOWN — Matthew Newlin has found a career path that lets him combine the best of two worlds — singing and performing.

The 26-year-old Georgetown native is finding success on the opera stage.

“I’ve always had a big love for classical music,” he said in a telephone interview from Miami, Fla. “Opera is a great opportunity to perform beautiful music, play characters and entertain.”

Newlin, a tenor, is with the Young Artist Studio at the Florida Grand Opera for its 2012-13 season, from September to May. He works as a performer and understudy, and does promotional events for the opera.

Last summer, he landed a role as an apprentice with the prestigious Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico. He said 1,600 people applied; 800 were called for auditions. For the 2012 season, 40 singers and 77 technicians from all over the United States were chosen to take part in five productions.

At the end of the program, he was awarded the Donald Gramm Memorial Award, given in memory of the bass-baritone who appeared with the Santa Fe Opera for several years, as well as other leading opera companies.

Newlin had small roles in the Santa Fe productions, was an understudy for some major roles and did community outreach. This was his second summer with Santa Fe.

Music lover

Newlin is the son of Jane and Greg Newlin of Georgetown, and graduated in 2004 from Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School. He played drums, bassoon, saxophone and piano, but he didn’t start taking singing lessons until he went to college.

Newlin said he’s grateful to the teachers at Georgetown-Ridge Farm, including band director Sara McGovern and his personal piano teacher, Barb Jones.

“They are the ones that got me started on this path, even though I had no idea at the time,” he said.

Newlin earned a bachelor’s degree in music and voice performance from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in 2008. Two years later, he received a master’s from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and a professional diploma in opera performance.

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