The Gramophone Magazine wrote “…Lemalu, a New Zealand born Samoan, is a major talent. His voice defies easy categorisation, combining the depth and authority of a bass with the flexibility and vocal colouring of a baritone”.
The 2014-2015 season has so far, been a season of role debuts, firstly, with Jonathan’s much anticipated debut in the title role of Verdi’s Falstaff, a highly successful revival of Keith Warner‘s wonderful production at Oper Frankfurt, conducted by Jonathan Darlington.
Frankfurter Neue Presse wrote: “..the title role had, in Lemalu, vocally and interpretatively found the ideal artist…”
More recently he has sung the role debut of Hans Schwartz and covered the role of Veit Pogner in the blockbuster English National Opera revival of Richard Jones‘ WNO production of Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, conducted by Edward Gardner in his last production as Music Director, playing a sold-out season with star-studded cast to huge audience appreciation and 5-star rave reviews.
Jonathan is currently in rehearsal, again at London’s English National Opera, playing the role debut of Sergent of Police in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, a new and highly anticipated production from renowned British filmmaker and director, Mike Leigh, conducted by David Parry.
Other notable engagements this season include the Gala Closing Concert of the 2014 Oxford Lieder Festival, performing the Heine settings from Schubert’s Schwanengesang with Artistic Director and pianist Sholto Kynoch alongside Kate Royal, Mark van de Wiel and Dame Sarah Walker.
Jonathan also made a return to London’s Wigmore Hall with Songsmiths ensemble in their Wigmore debut, accompanied by ensemble founder, pianist Audrey Hyland, with singers Elizabeth Watts, Mary Bevan, Anna Huntley and Marcus Farnsworth in a highly successful programme entitled Secrets and Obsessions.
Most recently, Jonathan has performed in recital with pianist Joseph Middleton at Glasgow’s Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in a programme of French song by Poulenc, Faure, Ibert and Duparc, entitled Poulenc 50 Years On to be aired on BBC Radio3 in the future.