Ariadne auf Naxos

Tanglewood Music Festival - August, 2010

New York Times  (James R. Oesterich)

Her counterpart, Ta’u Pupu’a as the Tenor and Bacchus, was something else again. A football hero at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, he flirted briefly with the N.F.L. before succumbing to an injury. To judge from his singing, he has not abandoned his iron-pumping regimen. He seems to have limitless power, so far not entirely tamed. But the voice has real gold in its best moments, with none of the blowsiness we have had to settle for in so many recent “heldentenors.”    Click here for full review

Boston Globe (David Perkins)

There is not a weak link in the cast of Tanglewood Fellows...The tenor Ta'u Pupua, a tall and handsome Bacchus, grew in vocal strength and by the end of the love duet was making a truly heroic sound.  Click here for full review.

The Classical Review (Lawrence Budmen)

In the treacherous heldentenor role of Bacchus, Ta'u Pupu'a brought reserves of stentorian power and heroic strength, singing gloriously.  Click here for full review


Opera News

IN REVIEW - New York City (David Shengold)
 Zhenitba; Schwergewicht, oder Die Ehre der Nation; Skripka Rotshilda, Juilliard Opera  Center, 11/12/08

It's hard to imagine better casting for the boxer Ochsenschwantz than baritone Paul La Rosa, healthy of voice, in great shape and a good comedian. Jennifer Zetlan was adorable as the straying wife, taking the Fiakermilli-like line in her stride; she and her paramour Gaston, the excellent lyric tenor Paul Appleby, danced up a storm. With Coppolo's high-flying Journalist, that made three tenors with a promising future, since Ta'u Pupu'a sounded like gangbusters as the Government Minister. Lyric soprano Frédérique Vézina sang well as the boxer-besotted student

Italian Voice and Italian Tribune. - June 9, 2007

Regina Opera Presents a Thrilling Tosca Performance  - A review by Nino Pantano

The role of the artist Mario Cavaradossi was sung by tenor Ta'u Pupu'a. Pupu'a
was born in Tonga in the South Pacific, but has lived in the United States
since the age of two. He was an NFL football player but after an injury he
turned to his other great love: singing. Lucky for us! In the opening
aria "Recondita armonia"  everyone took notice at his brilliant tone, breath-control
and ravishing, powerful tenor. At the conclusion of the aria his "Tosca, sei tu" evoked
memories of opera's golden age. His jealousy duet with Tosca was
beautifully sung. Cavaradossi's prolonged cry of  "Vittoria" in the second act
was a never ending tapestry of gold flooding Regina Hall, and his cries during
the torture scene were riveting.
In the final act Pupu'a's heartfelt and ardent "E lucevan le stelle" was
the stuff of legend, earning him a huge ovation. His singing of "O dolci mani"
with his beloved Tosca culminated in another ringing finale with Victoria Tralongo
in a perfect blend. His is a voice that with the right guidance will
conquer the opera world. Add to this the fact that he is athletic, young, tall
and handsome and it is an irresistible combination.

Italian Tribune - June 7, 2007 (Nino Pantano)

His first act aria "Questa o quella" was sung with brilliant tone, insouciance and elan. Papua's (sic) singing of his Act 2 aria "Parmi veder le lagrime" was well done...If he could somehow sustain his highest capabilities he would be a mighty force. Papua's singing of the crowd pleasing "La donna e mobile" was sung with ringing tone and a beautiful cadenza at the end. One hopes he has the patience to go slowly and nurture his career. Tau Papua is a tenor to watch.

Letter from Regina Opera fan following Ta'u's first Tosca performance ( June 2, 2007)

I am practically speechless. I have seen Luciano twice and Placido twice at the Met as Mario. I have seen Tosca at Amato. Never was I as moved as by Ta'u Pupu'a as Mario on Saturday night. I was stunned! My husband and I kept shaking our heads in disbelief that a singer of such immense talent was right here in my dear Brooklyn, singing in a small company, far from the glamour, glitz and glory of a major venue. And the conductor and orchestra were so wonderful! I would like to write to the tenor and the conductor to let them know how much we appreciated all of their incredible efforts. Would that be possible? Congratulations on a marvelous production that as a lifelong Brooklynite and opera lover, made me immensely proud. Given all of the limitations of doing a full scale production in such a space, it was so compelling that those limitations completely disappeared. I will write further at length, but I was anxious to let you know what a superb job the company did. All the best, Phyllis Wrynn _____________________________________________________________________________________

Staten Island Advance - Fine Philharmonic "Butterfly"   Tuesday, May 01, 2007 (Michael J. Fressola)

Ta'u Pupu'a, an ex-pro football player, made a strapping Pinkerton. You hardly expect the big, very tender tenor he produces. Together, the two singers brought the pre-nuptial (Bimba, bimba and Viene la sera) to an electrified place. Pinkerton is a feckless cad, but with Pupu'a's honeyed tones, he sounds so human, it's hard to hate him.

Boro Park Community News - December 2006 (Gary Sheinfeld)

Pinkerton, sung by Ta'u Pupu'a, was charming when seducing Cio-Cio-San, and cavalier when returning after his absence in America. His voice was powerful, yet controlled, as his gestures were minimal, yet expressive. His stage presence was well-suited to the role of Pinkerton. a man who knows how to appear sensitive around women in order to get what he wants. _____________________________________________________________________________________
Dan's Paper - August 2006 (Roy Bradbrook)

Another in the same mold but with a totally different voice was guest artist Tau Pupua. Tau has a young, thrilling, really big tenor voice that promises to develop into one of true star quality, especially when you add in the good looks and physique of someone who only recently played in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens before a career ending injury. If you missed him at Pindar, make a date for the JohnDrewTheater at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Saturday September 9th when he will sing the role of Lt Pinkerton in the ever-popular classic opera Madama Butterfly - I don't think you'll be disappointed. ______________________________________________________________________________________
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