Dr. J. Adam Shelton is a lyric tenor based in Madison, WI. He served as the tenor studio artist in the inaugural year of the Madison Opera Studio Artist program performing in Un ballo in Maschera as “Il Giudice”, “Damon” in Acis and Galatea, and covering “Don Ottavio” in Don Giovanni. He shared the Madison Opera stage with Susanne Mentzer portraying “Howard Boucher” in the riveting drama Dead Man Walking with composer, Jake Heggie, and Sister Helen Prejean in attendance. He also originated the roles of “Prince Charming” and "The Beast" for Opera for the Young’s adaptation of Massenet’s Cendrillion and Grètry's Zamire et Azor in English. He apprenticed two seasons with Des Moines Metro Opera where he performed “Elder Gleaton” in Susannah with composer, Carlisle Floyd, in attendance and “Rinuccio” in Gianni Schicchi for the one-act festival. He is a three-time recipient of the Ratcliffe award at the Southern Arizona Opera Guild's Quest for the Best competition as well as the grand prizewinner of the Amelia Reiman Opera Competition, and the second prizewinner at the Battle of the Tucson Tenors.
He has performed such roles as: “Frederic” in The Pirates of Penzance, “The Magician” in The Consul, “Ferrando” in Così fan tutte, “Lyric Tenor” in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, the title role in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, “Leicester” in Maria Stuarda, and “Nemorino” in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore. Audiences have also heard Dr. Shelton perform the tenor solos in oratorio and concert settings including: Handel’s Messiah, Handel’s Esther, Haydn’s The Creation, Britten’s St. Nicolas, and Britten’s The Company of Heaven.
Dr. Shelton completed his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin where his dissertation, “The Singing Dream: A 21st Century Critical Edition of Tauberlieder”, explored the compositions of the great Austrian tenor, Richard Tauber. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, he studied with Julia Faulkner as the Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellow in Voice. Additionally, Dr. Shelton maintains a private studio in Madison while serving as board president for Madison Savoyards, Ltd.