Renowned Newfoundland tenor heads home for Festival 500 choral showcase

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Renowned Newfoundland tenor heads home for Festival 500 choral showcase

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Performing a wide range of roles from the drunken French poet in the opera "Les Contes D'Hoffmann," in which he debuted at the Met in 2009, to the love-struck Alfredo in Verdi's tragic "La Traviata," Pomeroy has won critical praise both for his powerful voice and believability.

"He's also a very good actor when he sings and that's key to it," said Peter Gardner, chief executive officer of Festival 500 Corp.

Gardner was artistic director of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra when Pomeroy auditioned as a young student for a part in the annual Christmas performance of Handel's "Messiah" in St. John's.

"I immediately recognized that David had formidable talent," he recalled. "And probably one of the best talents vocally I've seen from this province at that time.

"I knew that if he was taken care of properly ... he had a major career in the works."

Key to proper management of a young singer's career is not doing too much too soon, Gardner said. Rushing into the performance of selections such as "Nessun Dorma" can be catastrophic, he explained.

"By the time he's 35, he's got no voice. It has been destroyed."

Renowned St. John's choral director Doug Dunsmore, artistic director of Festival 500, taught Pomeroy as a student at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

He recalled how Pomeroy enjoyed mastering the most difficult Bach arias.

"When other people found it hard, he found it fun and a challenge to be met."

Men's voices develop later in life with a richness that should rocket Pomeroy's career ever higher, Dunsmore said.

"At his age, he's just getting into the wheelhouse."

Pomeroy credits mentors such as Dunsmore and Gardner for encouraging him to follow a different musical path from the rock-heavy metal bands he fronted in his youth.

"They told me that I had a lot of potential to be an opera singer. And the life that I could have doing that would be certainly more attractive than that of maybe singing in a smoky nightclub trying to make ends meet."

As Pomeroy increasingly crosses professional paths with Placido Domingo and opera's other brightest lights, it appears he made the right choice. But he gets back to Newfoundland at least once a year, he said.

"When I come back home to visit friends, there's often these parties where people break out the fiddle and the guitar, and they sit in the kitchen and just go to town. It's such a joy. Music is in our blood, it's in our bones and I really don't see that anywhere else in the world that I go."

 

 

Organizations: Metropolitan Opera, BBC, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra Memorial University of Newfoundland

Geographic location: ST. JOHN'S, New York City, Orangeville Toronto Newfoundland

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