Hadleigh Adams: the New Face of Opera

Joanna Holcombe

He's young, he's hot and he's got a killer baritone voice. His name is Hadleigh Adams and he's one of international opera's fresh faces.

Adams, 30, is traditionally the type of man you'd expect to find gracing our screens in film or on TV; tall, dark and handsome.

Instead, he's about to take his rich baritone voice to the stage in Sydney starting July 4 for Vivaldi's Bajazet, a lesser known work from the Italian composer which Adams refers to fondly as '"the Game of Thrones of opera."

Bazajet -- with the tagline Death before dishonour -- is set to be a sizzling tale of love triangles, betrayal and the ultimate fight for power.

Bajazet. Photo: Pinchgut Opera

While not yet a household name, Adams has been quietly training and refining his craft for the past decade.

The New Zealander began his operatic training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, gaining his Masters of Music (with distinction no less).

Adams then spent the past four years with the San Francisco Opera, working as an Adler Fellow after he was selected as one of only four candidates (out of a thousand applicants), performing in 75 shows during his tenure.

Most recently, Adams took to the stage in New York, performing in Handel opera Orlando, a performance notably lauded in the New York Times arts section.

During our sit down with the opera star, we picked his brain for tips for the next generation of opera attendees.

(L-R) Sara Macliver, Hadleigh Adams, Helen Sherman in Bajazet. Photo: Keith Saunders

Hadleigh's Top Five Tips for Opera Newbies

1. Do follow the applause of other people -- sometimes it's difficult to know when to applaud between arias, so use your fellow audience members as a guide. And always applaud the conductor.

2. Don't be afraid to use the surtitles (as opposed to 'subtitles' - in opera surtitles usually sit above the stage). Purists might suggest not to use them, but surtitles will give you the english translation of what they're actually singing to help you keep up with the action.

3. Do order your drinks for intermission before the show starts, otherwise you spend half your break time lining up for drinks instead of catching up with your fellow opera-goers.

4. You don't have to read up on the opera you're seeing before you go. Like a movie, if you don't want to spoil the ending, don't read the synopsis.

5. Do be present: you "get out what you put in," Adams tells us, and when it comes to opera, it does require a bit of thought. But that's what makes opera worth it -- it's not a passive experience.

Hadleigh Adams is appearing in Bajazet at the City Recital Hall in Angel Place, Sydney from July 4 - July 8.