Few Australian opera singers have achieved the kind of celebrity that bass-baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes has.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Photo © Justin Vague

He’s starred in musicals, sung on cruise ships, been dubbed opera’s Brad Pitt, a ‘barihunk’, and attracted an unusual amount of attention from the tabloids, who have pried into his relationships with partners, his mother, and even reports of a leaked sex tape.

He’s also sung in great opera houses across the world, from New York’s Metropolitan Opera to the Welsh National Opera and Hamburg State Opera, and anyone who heard his formidable Henry VIII in Opera Australia’s Anna Bolena would know he’s still got the vocal goods.

“I don’t think I’m particularly interesting,” the self-effacing New Zealander tells me over coffee, brushing off the tabloids. “I just try and respect – as long as it’s truth – the good and the bad, hopefully, and if I can come out on the positive side of it most of the time with good, that’s a better place to be in.”

Rhodes is on his way to a vocal coaching session, having taken a few weeks break after Enrico (Henry VIII), a...