11 Dec 2014

Australasia’s favourite baritone

From Upbeat, 1:00 pm on 11 December 2014

Teddy Tahu Rhodes King of Siam
Lisa McCune (Anna Leonowens) and Teddy Tahu Rhodes (King of Siam). Image by Brian Geach courtesy of Opera Australia,

Teddy Tahu Upbeat portraitThe New Zealand-born bass baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes has made his name playing the bad boys of opera, like Mozart’s serial seducer Don Giovanni for Opera Australia. He says it was confronting to be pushed by director Sir David McVicar to play the role like a rapist not just a serial seducer. The singer says he received a disturbing letter where he was accused of being disgusting and shocking as if he was the character.   

Tahu Rhodes has been teaming up on and off stage with musical theatre star Lisa McCune, first in South Pacific and just last month he played the lead role in The King and I, breaking Opera House records. He says the first day of rehearsals for South Pacific was the most intimidating thing he’s ever done, being on stage with musical theatre actors who make the job look easy.

Eva Radich talks to Teddy Tahu Rhodes about throwing off his evil image and singing Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the Graduate Choir this weekend.

Photo: Teddy Tahu Rhodes. RNZ/Dru Faulkner.