Teddy Tahu Rhodes
• Born 1966
Often appears with
Teddy Tahu Rhodes elicits strong reaction from his audiences, owing to his handsome appearance and his powerful, creamy voice. In Australia he has been called opera's Brad Pitt, and in the U.S. he is likened to Sting, but with a more imposing physique. Indeed, at 6'5" Rhodes towers over many of his colleagues and leading ladies on-stage, and his resonant, rich voice only underscores his commanding persona. New Zealand-born, Rhodes rose to prominence in Australia and has performed regularly in the new century at the major opera companies in San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York, and throughout Europe. His repertory is broad, taking in operas by Mozart (Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, etc.), Puccini (Manon Lescaut), Prokofiev (The Love for Three Oranges), Britten (Billy Budd, A Midsummer Night's Dream), and many contemporary works, such as Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking and Rachel Portman's The Little Prince. Rhodes has recorded for Sony Classical, Chandos, and ABC Classics.
Teddy Tahu Rhodes was born on August 30, 1966, in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Tahu is Maori for "to set on fire.") He sang in a boys' choir in his youth and though he continued singing in his teens he had no intention of making a career in music. At 20, he won the Dame Sister Mary Leo Scholarship competition, but kept on with his studies in accounting.
After obtaining his degree in accounting Rhodes won New Zealand's biggest vocal competition, the Mobil Song Quest. He then studied for a year at London's Guildhall School of Music and eventually decided on a singing career. His roster of teachers over the years is impressive: Mary Adams Taylor, David Harper, and Rudolf Piernay.
In 1998 Rhodes debuted at Opera Australia as Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola. He has since served as a member of the company singing a variety of roles. He portrayed Lescaut in Puccini's Manon Lescaut at Opera Australia in 2009.
Rhodes won Australia's prestigious ARIA award in 2004 for his ABC Classics CD The Voice, a collection of popular arias and songs. In 2008 the New Zealand Arts foundation gave Rhodes a Laureate Award. That same year he debuted at the Met in Britten's Peter Grimes, singing the role of Ned Keene. Among Rhodes later recordings is the 2006 Chandos CD of Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges, on which Rhodes portrays Leandro.