German bass Theo Adam has died at the age of 92 in Dresden, the city where he was born. A distinguished Wagnerian and Strauss specialist, his more than four-decade international career saw him perform on the world’s greatest stages, but it was the Bayreuth Festival that he made his artistic home.
Born on August 1, 1926, Adam was a boy chorister in the Dresdner Kreuzchor from the age of 10 to 16. After serving with the German army, he returned to his hometown with the intention of becoming a teacher, all the while studying with voice teacher Rudolf Dietrich. His obvious talent soon put paid to his plans of entering the teaching profession. Instead, he made his stage debut with the Semperoper Dresden in 1949, appearing as The Hermit in Weber’s Der Freischütz.
In 1952, he made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival as Ortel in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, kicking off his famous association with the vaunted venue. His roles there included Fasolt, Wotan, Hans Sachs, Gurnemanz, Amfortas and the Dutchman, the last being his most performed Wagner role. He would be a fixture of the Festival well into the...