Press

Belshazzar’s Feast- Melbourne Symphony orchestra

William Walton’s oratorio airing boasted some fine qualities: Jonathan Lemalu’s bass-baritone riveting in the perilous unaccompanied description of Babylon, a generously rich string-colour in both rapid and slow action, a pair of brass choirs in the balcony managing to stay in time during the work’s most frenetic moments.

Clive O’connell, Sydney Morning Herald, 28th May, 2012

Moby Dick – San Diego Opera

New Zealand-born Samoan bass Jonathan Lemalu proved tailor made for Queequeg, his dark but penetrating bass denoting the gravity and centerness of the crew’s shaman outsider. His layered account demonstrated a welcome sensitivity that prevented Queequeg from slipping into the cliché of the noble savage.

Kenneth Herman, sandiego.com, 21th February 2012

…New Zealand-born Samoan bass Jonathan Lemalu brought authenticity to his character portrayal of the islander Queequeg while projecting his generous-sized bass with authority.

Erica Miner, operapulse.com, 20th February 2012 

Also terrific are…Jonathan Lemalu as the fearless South Seas harpooner, Queequeg…

Pam Kragen, North County Times, 20th February 2012 

Lemalu, a New Zealander of Samoan heritage, had no trouble projecting the image of a Prince of the South Seas kingdom of Kokovoko.

operawarhorses.com, 20th February 2012

Samoan basso Jonathan Lemalu, seems the perfect choice for Queequeg, a character who must be sympathetic and more than a little off-putting at the same time. Melville’s character is perhaps even more exotic than Scheer’s, but Lemalu wins us easily with his imposing physical and vocal presence.

operawest.com, 18th February 2012 

…Jonathan Lemalu’s courageous Queequeg also resonated…

utsandiego.com, 19th February 2012 

Recital – Fusebox Productions

Five of William Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs formed the second half, performed with unimpeachable suavity and rackety glamour by Jonathan Lemalu…

Anna Picard, The Independent, 27th November 2011 

Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher London Symphony Orchestra, Alsop, Barbican

Jonathan Lemalu offered plenty of musicality and conviction

Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk, 5th November 2011

Moby Dick – State Opera of South Australia, Adelaide

Jonathan Lemalu sings brilliantly the role of the Polynesian harpooner, Queequeg.

Graham Strahle, The Australian, 29th August 2011

Jonathan Lemalu’s bass-baritone and commanding stage presence in the role of the harpooner Queequeg brought him in the largest ovations.

Daniela Kaleva, Australian Stage, 3rd September 2011

Jonathan Lemalu is everything you would want in the character of Queequeg, strong, quietly commanding, his superb voice echoing in every corner of the theatre.

Barry Lenny, Glam Adelaide, August 2011

Belshazzar – Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse

Les chanteurs ne sont pas en reste : Jonathan Lemalu, Gobryas à la fois émouvant et imposant…

Maurice Salles, Forum Opera, 21st May 2011

Le baryton-basse néo-zélandais, d’origine samoane, Jonathan Lemalu, confie au pathétique personnage de Gobrias son timbre mordoré, pénétrant ses arias de la plus intense des douleurs d’un père pleurant son enfant. Magnifique !”

Robert Pénavayre, http://www.classictoulouse.com, 20th May 2011

Roméo et Juliette – BBC National Orchestra of Wales

The stand-out performance was Jonathan Lemalu’s Friar Laurence, a performance of commanding authority, vocally radiant and textually alert.

The grand climax of Part 7 was, as mentioned earlier, graced by a magnificent performance by Jonathan Lemalu, richly expressive, gravid with emotion and moral-sense alike.

Glyn Pursglove, http://www.seenandheard-international.com, 17th April 2011

The Rape of Lucretia – Theater an der Wien

Jonathan Lemalu trumpft als Lucretias Gatte Collatinus mit fulligem Bass auf…

Ernst Naredi-Rainer, Kleine Zeitung, 18th February 2011

Mit orgelndem Bass gefiel der Neuseelender Jonathan Lemalu als Lucretia’s Ehemann Collatinus

E Hirschmann, http://www.OE24.at, 18th February 2011

Messiah – Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

…bass Jonathan Lemalu made a considerable impact. A softly grained ‘For, behold darkness’ showed the illuminating quality of his voice with a thoroughly well prepared performance.

Mike Marsh, Daily Echo, 18th December 2010

John Adams El Nĩno – San Francisco Symphony

At Davies Hall, Adams has a lot of help…from the remarkable soloists, who move between English and Spanish texts, while singing into wireless microphones… They include bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu (as Joseph and Herod), whose supple and stone-hard declamations had the air molecules spinning in the concert hall…

Then came Lemalu, as Joseph, returning home after six months away to find his wife pregnant: “Mary, why did you do this to me?” he declaims. It is a startling moment, personalizing the ancient mysteries — though not as startling as what follows, when Lemalu, voicing God’s words in the Old Testament Book of Haggai, threatens to “shake the heavens.”…He definitely shook the concert hall.

Richard Scheinin, http://www.insidebayarea.com, 3rd December 2010

Bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu sang the only low-voice solos, many of which were highly dramatic. However, his high point came in “Shake the Heavens” in the first part, which begins with the verses from the Old Testament prophet Haggai that had served George Friederik Handel so well for a recitative in Messiah. Adams was clearly influenced by the eighteenth-century approach to melisma in this recitative and used “Shake the Heavens” as an opportunity to “roll his own” take on melismatic style. Lemalu delivered this with same conviction he would have applied to singing Handel, and he had the perfect voice quality for the task

Stephen Smoliar, http://www.enquirer.com, 3rd December 2010

Roméo et Juliette – LA Philharmonic Orchestra

In the last scene, New Zealand bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu’s imploring sermon of Friar Laurence was as dark and resonant as the ocean’s reverberation in a sea cave

Rodney Punt, http://www.instantencore.com, 25th October 2010

Basso Jonathan Lemalu, a New Zealand-born Samoan who, like his solo colleagues, was making his LAPO debut, came on at the end as a gruff, stentorian Friar Laurence, sounding very much like an Old Testament prophet as he excoriated all those responsible for the tragedy

Robert D. Thomas, http://www.classact.typepad.com, 23rd October 2010

A Child of Our Time – The Sage, Gateshead

the bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu’s singing was powerful, warm and rich.

Gavin Engelbrecht , Northern Echo, 27th September 2010

Jonathan Lemalu providing the baritone narration seemed an unaccountable luxury

Alfred Hickling, The Guardian, 27th September 2010

Cornelius: The Barber of Baghdad – Buxton Festival

The Barber, an eccentric chap played with gusto by Jonathan Lemalu, makes his entrance on a bizarrely decorated bicycle. He breathes much-needed life into the production, engaging the audience as much with his personality as with his vocal virtues.

Lynne Walker, The Independent, 12th July 2010

Jake Heggie: Moby Dick – Dallas Opera

The opera’s first scene opens with Queequeg, played by Jonathan Lemalu, making ritual invocations in a foreign language and a dark, deep, almost other-worldly voice, chanting among the sleeping bodies of the other sailors in the hold…Lemalu brought authority, vocal richness, and even the right ethnicity (he is of Samoan descent) to the part, acting as a kind of moral compass standing slightly apart from the other crewmen.

Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, 3rd May 2010

bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu was a forceful but gentle Queequeg

Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal, 4th May 2010

bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu as Queequeg…turned in performances worthy of a major premiere

Wayne Lee Gay, http://www.dmagazine.com, 1st May 2010

As the exotically coiffed, tattooed Queequeg, the bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu provided the saga with a sympathetic soul.

Steve Smith, The New York Times, 2nd May 2010