Bass-baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes and pianist and conductor Guy Noble are teaming up for a night of favourite arias and songs at City Recital Hall. The old friends tell Limelight about the pleasures of performing with a mate, the program’s highlights, and why live performance is an essential service.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Guy NobleGuy Noble and Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Photo © Keith Saunders

How long have you known each other and how did you first meet?

Guy Noble: I think I first met Ted when we recorded together with David Hobson for ABC Classic. I cannot remember the actual year, but over 13 years ago at least.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes: I feel like I’ve known Guy forever. We’ve always had such an easy and respectful friendship.

What do you enjoy about working together?

GN: It’s nice to perform with someone who is a friend. Performing is about ten percent work and 90 percent hanging around, so it’s good to spend that time with someone you can laugh with.

TTR: Guy is positive, fun and of course so talented that working together is always enjoyable. We’re friends first, colleagues second so we always enjoy ourselves.

What inspired the show at City Recital Hall?

GN: We love the venue, we love the people there, and we thought it would be a good opportunity to put on a concert that didn’t involve trying to cross state borders. Both of us have faced the prospect of quarantine simply in order to travel to earn a living, another disadvantage brought on by the pandemic.

TTR: We both love working there and are so fortunate to have such a beautiful concert venue in Sydney. The pandemic has really meant that looking at ways to perform safely is imperative and as a duo we are able to do that. It’s so wonderful we can have live music and our whole idea is to engage and make it an hour of fun. We were inspired by just wanting to perform.

What did you want to keep in mind as you put together the program?

GN: Variety, fun, emotion, what the audience will enjoy and what we like singing and playing.

TTR: I think audiences are looking forward to live music. We just thought that it should be a celebration of all the great music we’ve performed together over the years.

Has a year of shutdowns and cancellations influenced the way you thought about repertoire choices?

GN: Yes. I don’t think anyone wants to hear music of a depressing nature at this time – but they are looking for human connection, so music that inspires, consoles, uplifts. 

TTR: Uplifting music only!

Did you always agree on repertoire or was there some push and pull?

GN: Somehow it all just comes together, the ebb and flow. Never an argument about it.

TTR: Guy is a master at programming. Even if I worry it always works! I’m the worrier!

What are you each most excited about on this program?

GN: I am quite looking forward to premiering a new comedy song. I am also quite looking forward to writing it as well, when the inspiration comes.

TTR: We’re doing a group of Australian bush songs that the great bass-baritone Peter Dawson used to perform. Fabulous songs!

What do you hope audiences will come away with?

GN: Much as the government would disagree, I think we want people to come away thinking that live performance is an essential service.

TTR: I hope they come away smiling, uplifted and pleased they came!

Guy Noble and Teddy Tahu Rhodes perform at City Recital Hall on 23 January


Don't miss out 200th issue, subscribe today