Video: Liberal Arts Approach Distinguishes Arts and Letters Alumnus as Opera Singer

Author: Todd Boruff

“As a singer, I spend all my time dealing with texts. I’m singing poetry, I’m singing theatre, I’m singing in different languages, and all my training at Notre Dame helped me immensely for that,” says Paul Appleby ’05.

Appleby, a New York-based opera singer who performs across the country, is a recipient of a 2012 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing and Visual Arts. He currently stars as Brian in The Metropolitan Opera’s new production of composer Nico Muhly’s, Two Boys, which runs October 21 through November 14, 2013.

Appleby majored in English and music at Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and went on to receive both a master’s degree and an artist diploma in opera studies from The Juilliard School. He recently graduated from the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

He feels that his liberal arts education at Notre Dame has been critical to his success, because it taught him to research and analyze the works he performs.

“I think very frequently of an English class I had my junior year. We took a text…and approached it from every possible critical angle. That class didn’t have anything to do with music or performing, but I think about that in terms of how to intellectually approach a piece of art.”

“Developing yourself as a person, and developing your mind, is so important in the long haul, and I don’t mean generally, I mean very specifically, practically, to making art and engaging in this world.”

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Originally published by Todd Boruff at on October 24, 2013.