Rising Opera Star and Old Soul Adam Kral Makes His Mainstage HGO Debut

Phoebe Rourke
Rising Opera Star and Old Soul Adam Kral Makes His Mainstage HGO Debut

Houstonian Kral, photographed at Lynn Wyatt Square across from HGO’s home at the Wortham

HOUSTON GRAND OPERA closes its critically acclaimed 2023-24 season of warhorses, Wagner and commissions with the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The Sound of Music (April 26-May 12).

For those who know the show for such numbers as “My Favorite Things” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” the seriousness and timeliness of its book might be surprising. Set in Austria in 1938, retired naval officer Captain Georg von Trapp, who refuses to support the Nazi party, meets and falls in love with Maria, a guitar-strumming ingénue who is hired to look after the Captain’s seven unruly (but talented) children. Soprano Tori Tedeschi Adams sings the role of Trapp’s oldest daughter Liesl, and Houston-born tenor Adam Kral makes his HGO mainstage debut as Rolf, a delivery boy and budding member of the Nazi party who is in love with Liesl.

Kral, 21, caught the theater bug at age six when he was drafted for a community-theater production of Peter Pan. His mother, an immigrant raised in what was then Czechoslovakia, often showed Kral and his older sister YouTube clips of Pavarotti, golden-age musical theater, and films of fairy tales she grew up with. “We would listen late into the night — probably too late! — to all of these old Czech songs and operas,” says Kral. By the time he began performing, his inspiration came from a desire to bring these old films to life in a contemporary way.

Kral heavily researched his role as a lovestruck 17-year-old, ripe for induction by the Nazis. “You have to divorce your political and moral opinions of the character to play the role truthfully,” he says. “I have to approach this as what would it be like to be a young man who wants to prove himself, and is given a script to follow that allows him to take action in the current climate of the world.”

As a dancer, Kral is inspired by such masters as Gene Kelly (“He’s sort of my height!”) and studies dance at Uptown Dance Centre. He has performed roles with several Houston theater companies, and while at Houston Christian High School, received the 2019 Tommy Tune Award for Best Actor. Although New York is typically the next step in the journey of those steeped in music theater, Kral aspires to do more here, perhaps with TUTS or Stages. “It’s a huge city,” says Kral of his hometown, “and we have such a love for the arts.” ν

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