|Hadleigh Adams: Headshot and in Castor & Pollux|
Tall, rugged baritone Hadleigh Adams, 29, must be one of the straightest spined and proudest bearinged singers on the planet. Both his appearance and his lower-pitched, resonant voice make it hard to believe that during his youth in a small New Zealand farm town, two decades before he journeyed to San Francisco and was chosen for San Francisco Opera's prestigious Adler Fellow apprentice program, he was teased mercilessly for being gay.
"I acted very different," he explained during an hour-long chat in a cafe near the War Memorial Opera House. "I acted very effeminately. Not by choice; it's just how I was."
This didn't make life easy for him at an all-boys school.
"I wanted to fit in," he says. "I was two years ahead in my academic work because I was a smart kid. I played hockey and tennis, which were the gayer sports from a high-school boy point of view. I also did a lot of music, and I loved music. If you loved music, that meant you were gay.
"So it was horrible. I was teased a lot, and had very few friends. But I didn't really mind it or care, because while I loved my family and my country, which is the most beautiful place in the world, I always knew I was destined for more than a lot of my classmates. Not to say that more is better, or being on the stage or escaping is better, but I knew, from the age of 12 or 13, that I was destined for more in my life."
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