Messages from our foundation singers - Phillip Rhodes
Posted on 22 December 2016
Recently looking at my outbox I realised that it had been some time since I last touched base with Dame Kiri and the Foundation – despite it seeming like only weeks ago! Again this is a true indicator of the wisdom garnered and passed down by the Dame, and many of her contemporaries, ‘It all moves very fast once it gets going, you must always try get back to your teacher!’
Earlier this year I spent seven months on the road with only seven weeks at home. The season kicking off with Andrea Chenier at Opera North, singing the Role of Roucher, and Covering the Role of Gerard. This was a wonderful production and I was very fortunate to sing the role of Gerard in the orchestral dress. I have been fairly insistent about taking cover roles during the last few years and have tried to create for my own development in the profession a pathway in order to continue to grow; covering has certainly allowed me to do that, all the while putting future roles in my back pocket. It is hard work at the time but I know it will pay off further down the road.
More recently I made my debut as Giorgio Germont in the NZ Opera production of La Traviata.This production moved very quickly as I arrived a week later than expected, and I felt like a hamster running a little too fast on his wheel during the first week. Giorgio is not a large role in the sense of time on stage yet it is a very concentrated period requiring great drama, vocal control, and also close character relationships built with your colleagues on stage. I never felt like I quite managed to make up that time in order to create something extra special, however I am very proud of having made my debut in a role I would hope to sing many times over!
I continue to thank Dame Kiri and the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation for all they have done leading to this point and am grateful for all they do with young singers both home and abroad!
As Aria was about to go to press Phillip’s manager Deborah Sanders announced that:
Phillip has been engaged by Opera North to sing his first Renato Un ballo in Maschera which has performances in February and March, 2018;
In another role debut, he will sing his first Escamillo (Carmen) at the new Grange Festival in June next year. Other upcoming engagements include Peter Hansel und Gretel and in the same period Mizgir Snowmaiden, both productions at Opera North. He is already in rehearsal for these productions.
Earlier this month Phillip visited Amsterdam to audition for conductor David Parry and stage director Stephen Barlow for a new production of Tosca for the Nederlandse Reispoer. I’m happy to say he was successful and has secured the role of Scarpia for this 2018 production.
“On top of all this, Phillip is on hold for a role in a UK festival for the summer 2018 and when it’s confirmed he will be completely booked for the next two years taking him to the end of 2018. This makes me very happy and I hope that the excellent work he did and the highly positive impression he left at Covent Garden as the recipient of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation – Royal Opera House Cover Award will culminate in an engagement for a principal role in the 2018-19 season” she said.