Back in 2011, Teddy Tahu Rhodes made his WA Opera debut as Baron Scarpia in Christopher Alden’s gritty 2002 production of Tosca. Set in our own time, Alden’s uncompromising take on Puccini’s classic gave verismo a whole new meaning. Needless to say, Tahu Rhodes rose to the occasion, filling the stage with as much baleful presence as he filled the audience’s hearts with disgust – in a good way.

This time round Tahu Rhodes reprises the role for WA Opera in a very different context indeed, with director Stuart Mander’s stylish, brooding 2015 New Zealand Opera production situating the action in the Rome of the 1950s. Here, Jan Ubels’ set designs, Elizabeth Whiting’s costumes and Jason Morphett’s lighting give us a Roman Holiday that is anything but.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Antoinette Halloran in West Australian Opera's Tosca Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Antoinette Halloran in West Australian Opera’s Tosca

But just to recap: originally set in Rome in 1800 and premiered in that city in January 1900, Tosca documents the downfall and ultimate destruction of its eponymous heroine, her lover the painter Mario Cavaradossi and the villain of the piece, police chief...