Phillip Rhodes


"Phillip Rhodes was a revelation as the Count (Il Trovatore), lots of presence and a big elegant Italianate voice."

Owen Mortimer, Opera Now

"The role of Aeneas settles easily within the range of the young baritone Phillip Rhodes. His dark coloured voice possesses an attractive rugged quality. A pity that Purcell does not give Aeneas more to do."

Antony Lias, Opera Brittania

"The ghastly Scarpia was delivered with aristocratic relish and silky disdain by Phillip Rhodes"

Michael Tanner, The Spectator

"As it turned out the most intriguing performance on stage was that of Rhodes as Scarpia. His virile baritone voice was sumptuous in texture, riding the orchestral and choral waves..."

Michael Sinclair, The Opera Critic

"As Marcello, New Zealand baritone Phillip Rhodes has a nonchalant authority to go with his rock-solid technique."

Ron Simpson, What's On Stage

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UK-based New Zealand baritone Phillip Rhodes was the winner of the 2005 New Zealand Aria Competition and was awarded second place at the International Montserrat Caballe Competition in 2008. He is a former Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera and has since appeared regularly with the company in principal roles.

In the 2021-22 season he returns to the Royal Opera House as Monterone Rigoletto and to Opera North as Escamillo Carmen, and sings Giorgio Germont La traviata for Wellington Opera and Roucher Andrea Chénier for Chelsea Opera Group.

Recent highlights include Escamillo Carmen (Royal Opera House and The Grange Festival); his role debut as Figaro The Marriage of Figaro (Opera North); his house debut at Nederlandse Reisopera as Scarpia Tosca; Father Hansel and Gretel and Ford Falstaff (Scottish Opera); Escamillo Carmen, Speaker The Magic Flute and cover Renato Un ballo in maschera (Welsh National Opera); Jud Fry Oklahoma! (Grange Park Opera); and King Le Cid (Dorset Opera). In his native New Zealand, he has recently appeared as Don Pizarro Fidelio in concert with Auckland Philharmonia, in recital for New Zealand Opera, and as Judge Turpin Sweeney Todd, Giorgio Germont La traviata, and Scarpia in a new production of Tosca.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Carmen (Escamillo)

Opera North, October 2021

King of the entertainers is Phillip Rhodes’s Elvis-like Escamillo, arriving on a bucking bronco to sing the Toreador Song with swagger.

Rebecca Franks, The Times ****

Phillip Rhodes is bold as brass as Escamillo.

George Hall, The Stage ****

Phillip Rhodes is an ostentatiously macho Toreador [...] splendid at the top — Escamillo is the trickiest role in the opera...

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times’s solidly cast: last-minute stand-in Erin Caves brings an incisive tenor to Don José, Phillip Rhodes is the testosterone-driven Escamillo – either a rodeo rider or a country and western singer, perhaps both – and Camila Titinger’s soft-toned Micaëla has power where it counts.

Erica Jeal, The Guardian ****

Of the four principals only Phillip Rhodes’ Escamillo – rising above having to do the Toreador’s Song as Elvis – consistently satisfies with his smooth singing and a swagger that never goes too far...

Ron Simpson, The Reviews Hub

Phillip Rhodes’s powerful Escamillo...

Geoffrey Mogridge, Ilkley Gazette

Falstaff (Ford)

Scottish Opera, July 2021

Phillip Rhodes impresses as the energetically suspicious husband Ford and his deceptive alter-ego, Mr Brook.

Mark Brown, The Telegraph

Phillip Rhodes, as the outraged husband Ford and his disguised alter-ego Mr Brook, captures, in song and gesture, the power and energetic humour of his character’s misguided suspicion.

Mark Brown, The National

Phillip Rhodes sings Ford with unusual lyricism and warmth, almost enough to make this rotter sympathetic.

Simon Thompson, The Times ****

Phillip Rhodes [was] an outraged Ford, delightfully scheming as Mr Brook

David Smythe, Bachtrack ****

…Phillip Rhodes (Ford), Elgan Llŷr Thomas (Fenton), Aled Hall (Dr Caius) and Jamie MacDougall (Bardolph) all played their part in this happy mosaic.

Andrew Clark, Opera Magazine

Fidelio (Don Pizarro)

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, May 2021

The rest of the cast acquitted themselves well. The best of them was Phillip Rhodes as the malevolent Pizarro, with a beautiful round baritone that he used to sail through the extremes of his vengeance aria without strain, yet still giving the character’s baleful personality its due.

Simon Holden, Bachtrack

Hansel and Gretel (Father)

Scottish Opera, February 2021

[Nadine Benjamin] is matched with a beautifully sung father in Phillip Rhodes. Both here make their company debuts, and I hope we see them both again soon

Simon Thompson, Bachtrack, 10 February 2021

The singing is top class too, with company debuts for Phillip Rhodes, who brings vocal power and real charm to The Father

Keith Bruce, VoxCarnyx, 10 February 2021

Phillip Rhodes’s (beautifully sung) Father

Neil Fisher, The Times, 9 February 2021

The baritone Phillip Rhodes’s Father encapsulates the humour of David Pountney’s English translation of the libretto

Mark Brown, The Telegraph, 5 February 2021

Phillip Rhodes's well-produced baritone made a lusty impression as the Father…

Opera Magazine, April 2021

The Marriage of Figaro (Figaro)

Opera North, February 2020

The New Zealand baritone Phillip Rhodes relaxed into the title role immediately, despite taking it on for the first time. It fitted him like a glove. His Figaro retained unclouded optimism in the face of every setback, helped by warm, clear tone and eyebrows that crinkled with mirth at every excuse.

Opera Magazine, Martin Dreyer

Rhodes’s considerable acting skills and dark voice were just right for the part.

Bachtrack, Richard Wilcocks****

Phillip Rhodes was an outstanding Figaro: he has an impressive roster of roles to his name, and his flexible, finely coloured baritone blended beautifully with Fflur Wyn’s mercurial Susanne. Much thought had been given to their duets … their vocal intertwining was sublime.

MusicOMH, Melanie Eskenazi****

This cast is led by Rhodes and Wyn who have put on an excellent performance.

The Reviews Hub, Dawn Smallwood

Performances by the main cast are faultless. Phillip Rhodes gives a muscular performance as Figaro.

Manchester Evening News, Yakub Querishi

Carmen (Escamillo)

Welsh National Opera, September 2019

...Phillip Rhodes's Escamillo balanced bravado with charm.

Opera Magazine, Rian Evans, November 2019

The Magic Flute, Welsh National Opera

March 2019

I was impressed by Philip Rhodes’ Speaker

Opera Today, Claire Seymour, 8 March 2019

The two priests (...Phillip Rhodes) combine their sober songs with the gravity required by Sarastro's temple...

Olyrix, Mark Everist, 15 May 2019

Tosca, Nederlandse Reisopera

October 2018

Phillip Rhodes, master of the wickedly raised eyebrow, lets his baritone smolder with subtly mixed nasal timbres., Joep Christenhusz, 14 October 2018

Phillip Rhodes did a very good job of Baron Scarpia, every inch a villain. Rhodes has a beautiful, dark voice with which he painted a perfect picture of the evil swindler with the character of a rotten medlar. His ‘Va, Tosca’ was lugubriously ominous.

Opera Gazet, Olivier Keegel, 18 October 2018

...above all Phillip Rhodes (Scarpia) who shows ultimate abuse of power. Beautifully sung, very convincingly acted and with great attention to detail perfectly directed.

Theaterkrant, Henri Drost, 14 October 2018

Phillip Rhodes is the ideal Scarpia...

Thea Derks, 14 October 2018

Le Cid, Dorset Opera

July 2018

Paul Gay and Philip Rhodes do sterling work as baritonal dignitaries...

The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen, 25 July 2018

Oklahoma! Grange Park Opera

June 2018

...the casting of operatic baritone Phillip Rhodes gives Jud a weight and sympathy...

The Stage, George Hall, 18 June 2018

The other vocal star is Phillip Rhodes (Jud Fry), also the only operatic member of the cast. His rich, sonorous baritone almost makes up for the fact that Jud’s song is one of the weakest musical numbers.

British Theatre Guide, Louise Lewis, June 2018

Rhodes, meanwhile, has an eerie ability to draw silence in around him. He’s vulnerable as much as menacing, and his Jud could be the bullied kid brother of Carousel’s Billy Bigelow.

The Spectator, Richard Bratby, June 2018

Rhodes plays Jud with subtle eeriness, even managing to garner a touch of sympathy from the audience before his particularly sinister characteristics come to light. His powerful baritone mirrors the fearful dominance he has over Laurey.

Broadway World, Fiona Scott, 9 June 2018

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