Ta’u Pupu’a came to the United States from Kingdom of Tonga at the age of five. He grew up in a home of modest means in Salt Lake City, Utah and started playing football at the age of ten.
Legendary football coach Bill Belichick discovered him while he was playing for Weber State University and he joined the Cleveland Browns as a defensive lineman. But in his second season, a nasty injury ended his NFL career.
Despite almost no formal musical training, he decided to follow a new dream to become a professional opera singer. After struggling in New York City for five years, Ta’u met opera superstar Kiri Te Kanawa at a book signing at the gift shop of The Metropolitan Opera. And she helped him earn a scholarship to The Julliard School, America’s most prestigious music conservatory.
In the spirit of the opera world, we’re telling Ta’u’s story in four short acts.
To learn more about Ta’u Pupu’a and listen to some of his recordings, here’s a link to his website.