Nicholas Newton

Nicholas Newton's 2023–2024 season features the Houston Grand Opera world premiere of Intelligence, a new American epic created by composer Jake Heggie, librettist Gene Scheer, and director/choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder of Urban Bush Women. Other engagements include Alidoro (Cinderella) at Lyric Opera of Chicago, El Niño at The Metropolitan Opera in a new production directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, and Leporello (Don Giovanni) in a fresh interpretation by Stephen Barlow at Santa Fe Opera under the baton of Music Director Harry Bicket.

Concert performances of the season include Handel’s Messiah with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra under the guidance of the University Musical Society and with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones in a new suite of music from the composer’s historic opera, performed with the trumpeter and the Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet.

Highlights of past seasons include The Barber of Seville at Santa Fe Opera, Rodelinda at The Metropolitan Opera, the world premiere of Joel Thompson and Andrea Davis Pinkney’s The Snowy Day at Houston Grand Opera, La bohème and Sweeney Todd at Wolf Trap, Rigoletto with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Susannah and Julius Ceasar at Rice University.

Nicholas Newton is an alumnus of Ravinia Steans Music Institute and has toured with pianist Kevin Murphy, performing at the Tucson Desert Song Festival. He also has worked with the Cincinnati Song Initiative and performed in their virtual recital series A World of Song, and appeared in Houston Grand Opera’s Giving Voice: Lawrence Brownlee & Friends concert.  Other notable concert performances include Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn's Nelson Mass, Fauré’s Requiem, Stephen Paulus' To Be Certain of the Dawn, Gershwin’s Catfish Row with San Diego Winds, Duruflé’s Requiem with San Diego Master Chorale, and the world premiere of Michael Capp’s Christmas Revels with Las Colinas Symphony. 

In addition to his profile on international opera and concert stages, Nicholas Newton is an independent researcher whose main focus is Black composers and their operatic and vocal concert repertoire. He is building a Black Opera Database; an in-progress resource created to archive, celebrate, and preserve the vocal compositional output of Black composers and works that chronicle the Black experience. He conducts most of his in-person research in New York at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and in Chicago at the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago: these two centers have provided him the opportunity to research the music of Black composers in great detail through the access of Special Collections, Microfilms, Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books. Nicholas Newton is an affiliate with the Black Opera Research Network where he works alongside the David G. Frey Distinguished Professor in Music at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Naomi André. Dr. André specializes in research on opera and issues surrounding gender, voice, and race. Nicholas Newton has delivered multiple lectures on Black opera composers while under the tutelage of composer, former Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, and 2023 Walter Hinrichsen Award winner, Dr. Shih Hui Chen.

A proud alum of the Houston Grand Opera Butler Studio, Nicholas Newton trained as a Studio Artist and Filene Artist with Wolf Trap, a Young Artist with Aspen Music Festival, the Young Artists Vocal Academy of Houston Grand Opera, and San Diego Opera’s Opera Exposed program. A 2021 James E. Sullivan Award winner, he earned his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from San Diego State University studying with Laurinda Nikkel, and his Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Rice University under the tutelage of Dr. Stephen King.