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Fifteen years ago, opera’s man mountain, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, had a big crop of blond hair. These days at the peak of the 196-centimetre edifice of the bass-baritone sits a smoothly shaved head, his remedy for hair loss. “I’m proudly bald,” he says, his square shoulders and crushing handshake evidence he still scales an urban gym’s equipment.

In a country where most of us would be lucky to namecheck a handful of opera singers, Tahu Rhodes shines brightly as our own rock star of the genre. (Sure, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa recently bobbed up on TV, but it was in Downton Abbey playing Dame Nellie Melba, who died in 1931.)


We’ve had a good run of Australian television drama lately: the 1960s Sydney single mum serial Love Child is an audience favourite with the Nine crowd, ABC’s Canberra-set political thriller The Code was garlanded in awards, and Melbourne’s high-end prison soap Wentworth has broken out of Foxtel to gain a US audience.

Enter the all-you-can eat video streaming services – Stan, Presto and the global behemoth, Netflix, and unconfirmed fears that with audience attention already fragmented, the increased competition and uneven playing field will propel existing channels to lobby for a relaxation of Australian content quotas.




Fifty essays and dispatches on
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