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Paul Spencer Adkins (Tenor)

Born: 1951 - USA

The American tenor, Paul Spencer Adkins, studied music at West Virginia University, where he did a music ed. degree. He then went to the Academy of the Arts of Philadelphia, was there for two years, and made the transition from baritone to tenor. He studied there with Dorothy DiScala. After graduate school, he went to University of the Arts, where he his masters work in opera singing. He is a winner in the First Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition in 1981, as well as the Philadelphia and Princeton Metropolitan Opera auditions.

Paul Spencer made his operatic debut in 1976, with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and singing a small role in Menotti’s The Hero. Since then he has enjoyed a career in the USA and abroad. He has performed with a number of opera companies which include the Greater Miami Opera, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Tulsa Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Delaware, Orlando Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Virginia Opera, Cleveland Opera, Sarasota Opera, Lake George Opera, Opera Columbus and the touring company of Sarah Caldwell's Opera Company of Boston. Favorite operatic roles performed include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Rudolfo in La Boheme, MacDuff in Macbeth, Alfredo in La Traviata, the Duke in Rigoletto, Edgardo in Lucia Di Lammermoor, the title role in Faust, Des Grieux in Manon, Mario in Tosca, and the role of Hoffman in The Tales Of Hoffman. Mr. Adkins' European operatic debut was with the Netherlands Opera Forum as Nadir in The Pearl Fishers.

Symphonic engagements include the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (Verdi's Requiem), Silvio Varviso conductor; the Milwaukee Symphony, Lukas Foss conductor; the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra; the Richmond Symphony, George Manahann, conductor; Mexico's National Symphony; the Philadelphia Orchestra (George Frideric Handel's Messiah), William Smith conductor, and the Hilton Head Symphony among others.

Paul Spencer Adkins has performed with the Flanders Opera Orchestra (Benjamin Britten's War Requiem) in Antwerp, Belgium; with the RAI Orchestra in Milano, Italy; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra along with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra of Great Britian. He has participated in a number of world premiers, including Menotti's The Hero, Anthony Davis' X, and Leslie Adams' opera Blake. His New York operatic debut took place at Alice Tully Hall in the title role of Virgil Thompson's Lord Byron. He returned to New York for performances as Garibaldi in the Philip Glass-Robert Wilson opera, The Civil Wars, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Paul Spencer Adkins' television credits include the co-producer and featured solo artist in the international PBS broadcast of “The Musical Legacy of Roland Hayes.” He is a frequent guest soloist on the worldwide telecast of “The Hour Of Power” from the Crystal Cathedral in California. His appearance on A Star For Kitty, a children's opera, on “Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood” is rebroadcast annually.

Paul Spencer Adkins is a senior lecturer for The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was also the first vocal director for Peter Nero and The Philly Pops® Voices of the Pops, a resident ensemble. He has toured nationally as soloist with the famed Norman Luboff Choir and sang a solo performance for the Israeli Consulate, New York City, honoring jazz legend Lionel Hampton. Paul is a principal of Creative Leaps International ( and its parent company, Associated Solo Artists, Inc.

"How Can I Keep From Singing?" is the latest release by Paul Spencer Adkins and Tom McCoy. This classically inspired sacred music project combines their love for opera and classical jazz fusion.

“Adkins has an effortless tenor voice and a very natural stage presence...” - Kyle Gannon, Chicago Tribune (Pearl Fishers)
“Adkins has an incomparable voice. The man has got a very special tenor sound and acting skills to match. He makes you believe anew in the wondrous and wonderful transformative powers of love.” - Steve Barnes, Post-Star (Lake George Festival)
“...Armed with the instincts of a showman, tenor Paul Spencer Adkins gave a breezy yet thoroughly captivating Chamber Music recital...Adkins produced his best work in the superb concluding medley of spirituals. These were strongly characterized, deeply felt renditions, a near-ideal combination of ringing operatic timber and idiomatic note-bending..” - Richard S. Ginell, Los Angeles Times

Source: Paul Adkins Spence Website; University of Michigan Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2009)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Under his name


BWV 508

Links to other Sites

Paul Spencer Adkins (Official Website)

Interview with Paul Spence Adkins (University of Michigan)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Tuesday, July 04, 2017 17:05