Bass baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes is in Perth for WA Opera’s Don Giovanni, the ever-popular Mozart opera.
IF you had asked bass baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes a few years why Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni was still popular with audiences, he would have answered differently.
“I would have said more than anything else it’s the music,” Rhodes said.
“It’s a Mozart opera that has been revered as one of the great operas ever written and I think it was certainly considered by him as his masterpiece.
“It’s interesting doing it now because the character Don Giovanni is quite relevant in today’s movement and social climate. I’ve had to deal with that in the role because it’s quite confronting.
“It’s confronting to do and I think it’s confronting to see, but I think that’s a good thing and I can’t go halfway with it, otherwise you skirt the issues.”
Rhodes, in the title role for WA Opera’s season, plays the “Don Juan”, a Spanish cavalier who roams the country seducing women with never a thought or care for their feelings until a price must be paid.
He said make-up, wig and costume played an important element in preparing for the part.
“It does remove you from who you are and puts you into the character which, doing a role like this, is quite important because it’s so far removed from who I am as a person; well at least I hope I am,” Rhodes said. “I don’t tend to look in the mirror while I’m being made up and it’s really a relaxing thing to have done; quite soothing and meditative.”
The New Zealander, based in Melbourne, said he was far removed from this comfort zone before his first gig with Opera Australia, which followed a seven-year career as an accountant.
“I was sitting in the make-up room before my debut, in a mist not knowing what was going on, questioning what I was doing and why was I there,” he said.
“I feel quite comfortable after almost 20 years, but I still get nervous and a buzz going out on stage.
“Even though I’m going back to a role like this that I’ve done so many times, I’m a lot older now, so it won’t be the same as what it was,” he said.
New Zealand-born opera star Teddy Tahu Rhodes will reprise the role of Don Giovanni in the WA Opera production of the same name.