Ta’u Pupu’a

Tenor, Ta’u Pupu’a, a native of Tonga, is a graduate of the Julliard School. Once a defensive end in the NFL, he turned to opera after a career-ending foot injury. He is just as outstanding in his role as operatic tenor, as shown by the following comments:  “…He seems to have limitless power… but the voice has real gold in its best moments.” (New York Times) “…Everyone took notice at his brilliant tone, breath-control and ravishing, powerful tenor…”  (Italian Tribune), ​”In the treacherous heldentenor role of Bacchus, Ta’u Pupu’a brought reserves of stentorian power and heroic strength, singing gloriously.” (Classical Review), “…​The sound is a big one too, a big, meaty voice that would cope comfortably with Wagner or Verdi. And he is so in control of the tenor range – high, low, medium – that one gets a thrill from hearing him in full flow. It’s not just a weighty sound; it’s an alluring one.” (Behindthearras.com)

Operatic roles include Cavaradossi in Tosca, Narraboth in Salome, Ismaele in Nabucco, Pollione in Norma, Canio in Pagliacci and Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana having graced the stages of San Francisco Opera, La Scala, The Kennedy Center, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Opera Santa Barbara, Baltimore Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera Hong Kong. This season he joined Orchestra Iowa as the Tenor Soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and debuted the role of Calaf in Turandot with Cedar Rapids Opera in January. He made another role debut as the Duke in Rigoletto with Opera Connecticut and in the Spring sang Radames in Aida  with Opera Theatre of the Rockies. Other engagements have included Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde for the Alexandria Symphony, Verdi’s Requiem for Albany Symphony, Terrence McNally’s Masterclass at the Kennedy Center, starring Emmy and Tony Award winning actor Tyne Daly, and Bacchus in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos under Christoph von Dohnanyi for the Tanglewood Music Centre.. In 2011 Mr. Pupu’a was a recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant. Summer 2009 saw Mr. Pupu’a studying in Italy with Kiri Te Kanawa at the George Solti Bel Canto Academy, where he also performed in concert and recital. In 2007 he was awarded the encouragement award in the Giulio Gari Foundation vocal competition.