South Pacific Star at Home in Sydney Opera House
Christchurch-born operatic baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes, 47, shows Sydney Morning Herald journalist Tim Elliot around the Opera House, which is open 363 days a year – closing only Christmas Day and Good Friday – hosting 1800 performances for 1.4 million people. A further 7 million come every year just to look.
“I remember seeing the Opera House for the first time,” Tahu Rhodes says. “I came for a competition in 1991. I caught the train in and got off at Circular Quay and immediately saw the amazing, uninterrupted view of the Opera House from the station. It’s an image I will never forget.”
These days Rhodes is a regular: his current show, South Pacific, is the last of a dozen or so he has performed here over the past 15 years. “Once it was a pretty intimidating place to come to,” he says. “Now it feels really comfortable.”
He escorts Elliot to his dressing room, which is remarkably small, especially for a man his size (1.9m and broad as an All Black).
The most remarkable thing about the room is the view: it sits quite low, near the water, and looks straight out over the harbour, towards the botanical gardens and the heads.
“I was in here once, before the rehearsal of Don Giovanni a couple of years ago, and there were whales just out there,” he says.