ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Tenor David Pomeroy's star is still rising on the international opera stage but he traces an already acclaimed career back to Saturday mornings at his grandfather's house in St. John's, N.L.
"He would sit at the piano and I would sing 'I Dream of Jeannie (With the Light Brown Hair)' and these old songs," said Pomeroy.
"I just used to love going to his house and standing up and singing."
Pomeroy's grandfather, Ignatius Rumboldt, was himself a local musical legend who helped lay the foundation of a choral tradition that now culminates in the biennial Festival 500 concert series. The week of performances and workshops uniting international talents this summer will finish July 10 at Mile One Stadium in St. John's with Pomeroy leading the grand finale.
He is to sing two pieces made most famous by the late operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti: "O Sole Mio" and "Nessun Dorma".
Pomeroy has credited Pavarotti's other-worldly rendition of "Nessun Dorma," or "None Shall Sleep," as one of the inspirations that led him to a life on opera stages around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. "Nessun Dorma," the closing-act aria from Puccini's opera "Turandot," is also known for its use by the BBC in its coverage of the 1990 World Cup soccer tournament.
It's one of those musical favourites that a tenor grows into over time and through a vast range of experience. Pomeroy said he is always honing his craft toward such a performance peak.
"You're constantly working and you never give up with the lessons and the coaching," he said from his home in Orangeville, Ont., northwest of Toronto.
"Hopefully, as I'm turning 40 in September, I'm just hitting the prime time for my tenor years. I should have at least another 15 years of hard work and glory before my voice decides to divorce me," he added with a laugh.