Teddy Tahu Rhodes has a devilish role in WA Opera’s Faust

Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d444932
Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d444932

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 surtitles, 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?”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Faust

Where: His Majesty’s Theatre

When: October 29 to November 7

Tickets: www.ticketek.com.au