World-Class Tenor Matthew Newlin Discusses International Opera JourneyCHICAGO COLLEGE OF PERFORMING ARTS ALUMNI PROFILE
by Grace Heimerl
Currently amid his sixth season at German opera company Deutsche Oper Berlin, Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) alumnus Matthew Newlin is no stranger to the success his talent and skill have brought him. The lyric tenor’s stunningly warm, well-controlled and enveloping voice has elicited high praise from critics, who describe him as “sweet-toned” and possessing “pleasing and easy stage manner.” The road to residing and performing in Germany, however, started at Roosevelt University.
Newlin’s pre-professional resume was punctuated with positive experiences during his time at CCPA, which helped instill him with a lot of confidence. “I was lucky to have many experiences performing leading roles at CCPA, but my favorite was working on Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias,” he said. “This opera not only fit my musical and theatrical personality at the time, but it was also an experience in which so many of my friends and classmates were involved on and off the stage. It was one of the first experiences I had in which I remember feeling confident expressing my ideas and feeling a sense of ownership in the final product.”
The road to Newlin’s success was paved with hard work — and it started first with learning technical vocal performance skills, such as how to properly project over a symphony orchestra without a microphone, a skill he says was “no small feat” to learn. Outside of his artistic endeavors, however, he also had to learn the value of sheer dedication. “I worked two part-time jobs and found a number of singing gigs outside of school while keeping up with my coursework,” he said.
“The training, the preparation, the discipline, the expression, the community … were all things I knew I needed in my life.”
– Matthew Newlin
MM ’10, Professional Diploma in Opera ’12
Ultimately, Newlin knew that CCPA would both teach him the skills he needed and help his networking efforts. “I chose Roosevelt over other options because I knew the faculty was still connected to the working world, and I came in knowing that it was my job to become good enough to benefit from those connections,” he said.
Newlin’s talent and skill are accompanied by his sense of experience and wisdom as a performer. While being a professional performer can be full of challenges, he uses his instincts and values — and what he learned at CCPA — to inform how he meets these challenges, even at his level of success. “The training, the preparation, the discipline, the expression, the community … were all things I knew I needed in my life,” he said. Newlin’s career is certainly full of these qualities, and his work a reflection of them.
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