Adams, Charles R.
- H. Wiley Hitchcock
- , revised by June C. Ottenberg
- and Jonas Westover
(b Charlestown, MA, Feb 9, 1834; d West Harwich, MA, July 4, 1900). American tenor. Adams was one of the most prominent American singers in European opera houses throughout the 19th century. He studied singing in Boston and in 1856 was soloist in the Handel and Haydn Society’s performance of Haydn’s The Creation. In 1861 he made concert and opera appearances in the West Indies and Holland. He studied in Vienna with Carlo Barbieri and was engaged for three years by the Berlin Royal Opera, then for eight out of nine years (1867–76) as principal tenor of the Vienna Imperial Opera. He also sang at La Scala and Covent Garden. In 1877 he returned to the United States. During the 1877–8 season at the Academy of Music in New York he sang the title role in the first American production of Wagner’s Rienzi. An excellent singer and fine actor, he had a commanding stage presence. His voice was described as very powerful and “a very sweet one and one of great range.” Adams made his way to Chicago in the 1880s, where he regularly performed oratorios with the Chicago Musical Union. Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Manrico, and Rienzi were his most celebrated parts. From ...