Teddy Tahu Rhodes
14 April 2018 7.45 pm
Yass Music Club’s Sapphire Anniversary Concert
YASS MUSIC CLUB SAPPHIRE ANNIVERSAY CONCERT – TEDDY TAHU RHODES AND KRISTIAN CHONG – SATURDAY, 14TH APRIL, 2018.
For its Sapphire Anniversary Concert celebrating sixty five years since it began in 1953, the Yass Music Club was entertained mightily by the celebrated bass baritone, Teddy Tahu Rhodes accompanied by the sparkling piano work of Kristian Chong, combining in a stunningly memorable performance to a FULL HOUSE in the Yass Memorial Hall.
The concert was generously sponsored by the Holmes Family and the Thyne Reid Foundation, with a particular memory of Dr RAG Holmes as the founding Musical Director from whose vision among others, the Yass Music Club began and continues to thrive with such vitality.
The evening got underway with a pre-concert gathering for members of the Committee, Guests and Teddy and Kristian as a welcome ‘getting to know you’ to set the tone for a most enjoyable evening.
President Peter Crisp gave a warm welcome to the audience and introduced Malcolm Holmes and Ferial Reid representing the sponsors of the concert and there was a ceremonial cutting of the cake together with a toast to the Yass Music Club. There was also a presentation of a Life Membership to Gwen Warmington as a past Secretary of the Music Club.
The concert began with the Beethoven song cycle “An die Ferne Geliebte” (To the distant beloved) comprising six elegiac songs, not forming a chronological narrative, but leading to an inevitable conclusion. Beethoven called it Liederkreisi, a circle of song, so written that the theme of the first song reappears as the conclusion of the last, forming a ‘circle’ (Kreis), in the figurative sense of a finger-ring as a love-token. In these poems, the lover’s distance from the beloved is greater, the longing more intense and stormier, and he is no longer satisfied with merely the sound of her name, preoccupied with the anguish of separation which colours his whole landscape. Teddy sang the songs with love and sensitivity to express the pain of separation felt by the lover for his beloved with the metaphor of Nature as a continuing link. We were then treated to a stunning piano performance by Kristian which began with ‘Rhapsody for Left Hand’ by Miriam Hyde, written especially for Kristian by Hyde, and there was a delightful ‘in joke’ here where Kristian tells of his thoughts of being able to scratch his nose with his right hand as he played. The piece led seamlessly to the Rachmaninoff ‘Prelude in B minor Op 32 No10’ that was said to be a favourite of the composer reminding him of his home and conveying his depression with stillness, sadness and quiet resignation only momentarily replaced by an impetus of utter despair as it proceeds and Kristian’s performance was skilled and passionate as he wove his magic in his interpretation. Teddy then performed a set of Shakespearean songs from Gerald Finzi’s “Let us garlands bring” including ‘Come away, Death’, ‘Who is Sylvia?’, ‘O mistress mine’ and ‘It was a lover and his lass’ all sung with great understanding and sensitivity. At interval, after an delicious supper prepared by the Hospital Auxiliary and accompanied by a selection of the very best wines from Shaws of Murrumbateman, Peter Gibbs, President of Yass Rotary, presented Sarah Giddy with her RAG Holmes Scholarship Award. The famed Music Club raffle was then drawn and a CD signed by Teddy was won by Julie Johnson. Sarah was then introduced by Ros Whiteley, Coordinator of Scholars, showing us just why she is a RAG Holmes Scholar with a beautiful performance of Elena Kats-Chernin’s ‘Alexander Rag’. She and all the RAG Holmes Scholars are a source of great pride to the Music Club and will be performing at a Gold Coin concert at St Clements Anglican Church in early May.
Teddy’s next set was from Ralph Vaughan Williams’ setting of the Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Songs of Travel” in which the poet’s journey is well documented from ‘The Vagabond’ to ‘I have tried the upward and the downward slope’ and is a very British take on the “wayfarer cycle”. A world-weary, yet resolute, individual – Stevenson’s and Vaughan Williams’s traveller – describes his journey and the final song recapitulates the whole cycle in just four phrases, suggesting that the traveller’s journey continues forever, even in death. Again Teddy powerfully evoked the challenging journey described by the songs and his dramatic ability to match the melodies to the words was a wonder to hear.
The final set was “A Collection of Australian and Celtic Songs” which began with a rousing rendition of ‘The Road to Gundagai’ and, much to the delight of the audience, there was an invitation to ‘sing along’ in several of these songs. Teddy’s anecdotes about Barry Humphries and Greta Bradman (who is our August artist!) as they worked together at the Adelaide Festival were great fun and Peter Dawson was remembered through such great songs as ‘Comrades of Mine’, ‘The Banks of Loch Lomond’, with ‘Raglan Road’ also included, and ending with the rousing ‘Floral Dance’. ‘Molly Malone’ (The dolly with the trolley from Grafton Street in Dublin) was a fitting encore to end what had been an unforgettable evening of musical mastery from Teddy and Kristian. The celebratory cake had been cut and distributed and Peter Crisp concluded the evening with the presentation of a superb piece of Crisp glass, especially made by him for the occasion, to each of Teddy and Kristian as a gesture of thanks from the Yass Music Club and as a memory for them of the truly grand evening they’d had in Yass. Malcolm and Ferial joined Peter Crisp in his concluding expression of appreciation for what had been a spectacular celebration of the Yass Music Club’s Sapphire Anniversary Celebrations. Submitted by Brian Millett. 16/4/18
At the outset of his career Teddy Tahu Rhodes was a finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Award, performed in the Young Songmakers Almanac Concert Series in London, in the Salt Lake City International Concert Series, and in recital in Japan. He represented New Zealand in the 1999 Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
Teddy has rapidly established an international career on both the opera stage and concert platform. He has performed with the opera companies of San Francisco, Austin, Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas, Cincinnati, Houston, New York, the Hamburg Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper/Munich, Theatre du Chatelet/Paris, in Vienna, Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera.
Recent seasons include Lescaut (Leipzig/Opera Australia), Escamillo (Hamburg, Théatre du Chatalet/Paris, Munich, Bilbao, Metropolitan Opera, Opera Australia), Guglielmo/Count (Cincinnati, Opera Australia, Washington Opera), Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire (Vienna, Opera Australia), Joe/Dead Man Walking, Don Giovanni (Opera Australia, West Australian Opera ), Scarpia/Tosca – role debut – (WA Opera), Emille de bec – role debut – South Pacific (OA).
Awards include an ARIA, two Helpmann Awards, a Limelight Award, a Green Room Award plus a MO Award (Operatic Performer of the Year).
Following the huge success with South Pacific for Opera Australia, Teddy returned in 2014 for the role of the King (The King and I) and the title role in Don Giovanni. In 2015 Teddy will debut the roles of Méphistophélès (Faust) Opera Australia, South Australian Opera and West Australian Opera, the title role in Sweeney Todd (Victorian State Opera), Beethoven 9 (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra), a new work written by Barry Humphries entitled Peter and Jack (Adelaide Cabaret Festival), Australia/NZ tour “From Broadway to La Scala”, Southern Cross Soloists, Mozart Requiem (Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra) and Handel’s Messiah (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra).