On the Couch with Phillip Rhodes

OA Phillip Rhodes AAR On the CouchWho is Phillip Rhodes?
I was born in a small town in the Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. I was raised, along with my five younger sisters, in a foster home by two of the world’s most amazing humans. They exposed me to a world of unfathomable possibilities, and that included music.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I find I’m asking myself more and more, ‘have I made someone’s day a little brighter’ so the one thing I’m looking to do differently is to be more aware of the kindnesses I can offer. Even a smile can go a long way.

Who inspires you and why?
There are so many people in my life that inspire me, teachers, mentors, colleagues, dear friends, my children… I’m lucky to have surrounded myself with inspirational people. But none more than my foster father and mother, both have been huge servants to their community for decades and are the epitome of ‘loving and giving, without expectation’. Another is my mentor, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, she has been a fearless pioneer for kiwi singers, with a career spanning over 50 years. Now she pours all her time into the next generation of young singers. I’ve never known anyone to strive harder for excellence.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Kindness can never be overrated. It comes in many shapes and forms, from a helping hand to and honest word. I will endeavour to strive for kindness, to give it, and also to recognise and acknowledge when it is received.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere with my children. I travel the world, it’s a wonderful part of my job, but for me, nowhere is truly special without someone you love to share that somewhere with.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
In my childhood hometown of Havelock North, I would take everyone up the majestic Te Mata Peak to witness the 360° views of the Heretaunga Plains, before venturing down to the Tukituki River bed to Craggy range winery for some of the finest food and wine on offer!

What are you currently reading?
First up I’ll mention my guilty pleasure, Lee Childs’ most recent Jack Reacher novel (don’t judge me!). I’m also revisiting a book I pull out and re-read every few years Great Singers on Great Singing by Jerome Hines. It’s a wonderful compendium of opera singers speaking on their technique and beliefs in regard to producing the most glorious sound they can.

What are you currently listening to?
When I’m running, I have my Classic 90s hip hop playlist. When I’m cooking it’s Fat Freddy’s Drop or The Black Deeds. But in general, with so much music in a typical day of rehearsal, silence is one of the greatest things to hear.

Happiness is?
Holding my children.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m really looking forward to making my debut with Opera Australia, singing Giorgio Germont, in La Traviata. The cast is stacked with amazing Aussie talent and I have wished to sing in the iconic Sydney Opera House for as long as I can remember, and to do that for the first time on New Year’s Eve is really something quite unimaginable.

Phillip can be seen as Giorgio Germont in Opera Australia’s production of La Traviata – which plays the Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House from 2 January – 14 March 2024. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details. La Traviata on New Year’s Eve will play the Sydney Opera House on 31 December 2023.

Image: Phillip Rhodes – courtesy of Opera Australia