Tenor Nathan Pacheco has built his career on unexpected opportunities. The Herndon native credits his musical family and his Oakton High School teacher, Elaine Stanford, with providing the background and support that led to his self-titled debut album recently recorded for the Disney Pearl label. This week his local debut concert at Strathmore will demonstrate why his crossover style first captured people's attention.

He first traveled to Brazil where he performed classical music along with styles native to the country. From there, he headed for Italy to study the language and perform with the Opera Festival of Lucca.

"Having a background in several languages comes in handy," he said. "In addition to helping me sing opera, I find that some crossover songs sound better in Italian and Spanish. I also love French and Portuguese and want to do more songs from my Brazilian roots.

"During my 2004 stay in Italy, I performed at night, took acting classes by day and learned more beautiful languages. It was an adventure. I'd always loved music from a young age. My mom was a piano teacher, so I learned from her. In high school, I was in the school chorus and musicals and had lots of encouragement from Ms. Stanford, but I didn't know that I'd eventually choose music as a career. I began composing with one of the guys who played guitar in our high school band. Now I realize it can be part of my job, not just a hobby."

Nathan Pacheco
Where: Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda
When: 4 p.m. Sunday
Info: $18 to $48; 301-581-5100' strathmore.org

Once Pacheco returned to the U.S., he set up a few auditions, one with promoter Ric Wake who introduced him to Yanni. That led to his writing lyrics for Yanni's instrumental works and eventually to becoming a featured singer with Yanni and his orchestra on a tour throughout Latin America, Canada and the USA.

"It was exciting becoming part of Yanni's project and creating lyrics for his iconic melodies," he said. "For three years, I was one of the Yanni Voices recording and touring with him. I've performed twice on the national broadcast of Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, first with Yanni in 2010 and then with British singer Katherine Jenkins in 2011."

In early 2012, he joined Jenkins and the NSO as her special guest on a UK tour and in March performed in Washington's National Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial.

"I've had a bit of luck," he said. "I'm especially excited about coming back to perform in Washington where I grew up. It's one of my favorite places in the world and very meaningful to me because it's where I got started. I hope a lot of my friends will attend."