Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

TEDDY Tahu Rhodes is hav­ing a devil of a time, in a good way, pre­par­ing for WA Opera’s sea­son of Faust.

The New Zealand singer plays lead­ing role Mephistophe­les op­po­site Pa­trick O’Hal­lo­ran’s ill-fated Faust in David McVicar’s ver­sion of the Charles Gounod opera.

“As a bass-bari­tone it’s a dream role,” Rhodes said.

“In this pro­duc­tion he’s not your spir­i­tual devil that we may have in the back of our mind; he’s a man who you might come across in the street and tempts you.

“It’s such a sim­ple story and he’s such a sim­ple char­ac­ter in that way, where he of­fers a temp­ta­tion and you de­cide whether or not you’re go­ing to take it.”

It will be the third time this year in the pro­duc­tion for Mel­bourne-based Rhodes when it opens at His Majesty’s Theatre on Oc­to­ber 29, fol­low­ing sea­sons in Syd­ney and Ade­laide.

Al­though he sang the role when younger, Rhodes said he was more suited to tak­ing on Mephistophe­les now.

“It’s the sort of role you don’t want to play un­til you get older,” he said.

“I’m pretty close to 50 and there are cer­tain roles for a cer­tain age.

“I think now is a good time to start be­cause the other char­ac­ters are re­ally young and (Mephistophe­les) had a bit more time on his side.”

Sung in French with English sub­ti­tles, Faust fol­lows the en­dur­ing tale of a man mak­ing a bar­gain with the devil.

McVicar’s ver­sion, first per­formed in 2004 at Covent Gar­den’s Royal Opera House, is set in deca­dent 1870s Paris and, ac­cord­ing to Rhodes, tells the story bril­liantly.

“Opera is gen­er­ally all about the mu­sic but au­di­ences get drawn into the story and the mu­sic just en­hances it,” he said.

“It’s vi­brant with great move­ment by incredible dancers; the danc­ing is a real high­light and it’s a pro­duc­tion that is so much about the cho­rus.”

WA Opera artis­tic di­rec­tor Brad Co­hen will con­duct WASO and WA Opera Cho­rus in the opera com­pany’s fi­nal pro­duc­tion for 2015.

The lav­ish five-act pro­duc­tion is a fit­ting con­clu­sion to this year’s pro­gram, where opera fans will be able to revel in the clash be­tween re­li­gion and he­do­nis­tic en­ter­tain­ment.

“The opera went through a stage where it was very fash­ion­able at one point and then it com­pletely dropped out of fash­ion as one to do in the big opera houses,” Rhodes said.

“You don’t see a lot of Gounod op­eras out there but the ones that are amaz­ing are still there and this one is amaz­ing.

“It’s a sim­ple tale of temp­ta­tion. Do you want to take this and sell your soul?”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d444932

New Zealand op­er­atic bari­tone Teddy Tahu Rhodes will star in Faust.

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