Article Title:Review: Teddy Tahu Rhodes with the NZSO
Author or Credit:Larry Jenkins
Published on:2nd November 2008 - 07:05 pm
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Story ID:6712
Text:Review: Teddy Tahu Rhodes with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Pietari Inkinen, at the Auckland Town Hall, 31 October 1 November 2008 Kiwi bass-baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes New Zealand bass-baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes is doing well. Within the last year he has made his Metropolitan debut in Britten's Peter Grimes, singing the role of Ned Keane; he's also sung the title role in that composer's Billy Budd in Santa Fe and Sydney, and in these two concerts in Auckland with the NZSO, he demonstrated why he's been so successful in Mozart roles throughout Europe, singing, on Friday, arias from Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, then Handel and more Mozart on Saturday. But one wonders why, with his physique and presence and given the considerable vocal resources he commands, we haven't heard him in Verdi. The one thing we did learn was that he is no bel canto bass as yet, for his attempt at Bellini in a number from I Puritani lacked that combination of line and expressivity that the music so needs. He did give us Bizet's Toreador Song and was down to sing some Puccini on the first night but opted out due to a vocal problem, substituting an Irish folk song instead. He has a peculiar stage manner – gangly and boyish, grinning impishly throughout his selections whether the text calls for jocularity or none, and often turning his back on the audience to face the orchestra for no particular reason at all that I could fathom. Given a huge reception by the near-capacity crowd, perhaps he decided to suspend any gravitas and make it a celebration, but some seriousness at the right moments would not have been unwelcome. The orchestral offerings on both nights (Strauss's Don Juan complementing the Mozart aria from the same legend coupled with Till Eulenspiegel on Friday, Stravinsky's Petrouchka on Saturday) were competently conducted at breakneck speeds by the orchestra's young musical director Pietari Inkinen, who, when stood next to Rhodes, looked even more boyish and diminutive. I felt that Don Juan in particular suffered from all the rushing and needed some room to unfold. Larry Jenkins - 2nd November 2008    
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