Adam, Theo, distinguished German bass-baritone; b. Dresden, Aug. 1, 1926. As a boy, he sang in the Dresdner Kreuzchor and studied voice in his native city with Rudolf Dittrich (1946–49). On Dec. 25, 1949, he made his operatic debut as the Hermit in Der Freischütz at the Dresden State Opera, and in 1952 made his first appearance at the Bayreuth Festival, quickly rising to prominence as one of the leading Wagnerian heroic bass-baritones of his time. He was a principal member of the Berlin State Opera from 1953, and made guest appearances at London’s Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opéra, the Salzburg Festivals, the San Francisco Opera, and the Chicago Lyric Opera. On Feb. 7, 1969, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. as Hans Sachs. In addition to his Wagnerian roles, he also sang in operas by Mozart, Verdi, and R. Strauss with notable success; he appeared in various contemporary works as well, creating the leading roles in Cerha’s Baal (1981) and Berio’s Un Re in ascolto (1984). In 1979 he was made an Austrian Kammersänger.
Seht, hier ist Tinte, Feder, Papier...(1980); Die hundertste Rolle, oder, Ich mache einen neuen Adam (1987).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire