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Rising Stars Michael Adams lg 1015
Adams’s distinctive, full-bodied baritone eventually won out over his other passion — sports.
© Kristin Hoebermann

MICHAEL ADAMS’s ripe, evenly produced lyric baritone has earned him top prizes in the competitions of the Giulio Gari, Gerda Lissner and Loren L. Zachary Foundations. But it was literally an accident that propelled him down the road to singing. “My plan was to play baseball in college,” he recalls. “My senior year in high school, I had an accident and tore all kinds of connective tissue. I was trying to figure out how to pay for college, and I auditioned for music programs because I knew I could match pitch. Texas Christian University in Fort Worth offered to pay my tuition, so I had to be a voice major.”

At Fort Worth Opera, he saw his first opera, Don Giovanni, and realized that “you could break down breath and pitch and all of that the same way you can break down the mechanics of a baseball pitch.” He sang small roles at Forth Worth, attended the Seagle Music Colony and became a resident artist at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts, where his roles included Valentin and Schaunard. He also came under the tutelage of Tyson Deaton, pianist for Sherrill Milnes and Denyce Graves, whose ears Adams calls “second to none.”

At the moment Adams, twenty-four, is on a fest contract at Deutsche Oper Berlin. “I do plan on coming back from Europe,” he says. “What I’m hoping is that when I do come back, people will say, ‘I remember him when he was a kid.’ But for now, I want to be in Europe and sing all the lyric baritone stuff and get it under my belt — in good houses.”

Past injuries aside, sports are a continuing passion for Adams; outside of the music profession, he most reveres Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers. “He’s had a lot of failures in his life,” says Adams, “but every time, he bounces back and keeps performing at high levels. He’s a huge inspiration.”

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