The notes to this recording mention Johann Sebastian Bach’s predilection for using the male bass voice whenever a solemn note needed to be struck or when a figure of authority was invoked. Teddy Tahu Rhodes, the bass-baritone heartthrob of Australia’s opera fans, is now maturing into such a figure. Even the cover photograph for this CD shows a new Teddy – a dignified and wise personage rather than the glamorous, dashing Don Giovanni of his recent past.
The 13 arias here are all drawn from Bach’s religious cantatas – there’s not a whiff of secularity to be found. They come from eight cantatas in all, with the Cantata BWV82 “Ich habe genug” presented in full. Teddy’s voice is impressively supple, given that the arias call on his strong bass rather than letting him rip with the more naturally flexible baritonal range. And he is given equally supple support by the very fine Orchestra of the Antipodes, which has been recorded with a very natural and immediate presence.
Fine too is the support given in two of the arias by soprano Sara Macliver, while featured oboist Kirsten Barry shines in the final aria from “Ich habe genug”. Lovers of Bach will want to add this to their collection; followers of Teddy Tahu Rhodes should rejoice in hearing this enrichment of his repertoire.