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Worldwide general management with Askonas Holt

About Jonathan

Joint winner of the 2002 Kathleen Ferrier Award and the recipient of the 2002 Royal Philharmonic Society’s Award for Young Artist of the Year, New Zealand-born Samoan Jonathan Lemalu has been one of the most distinguished basses of his generation. He has been made an ONZM for his services to opera, and been named an Honorary Fellow at the Royal College of Music.

Jonathan performs at world-renowned opera houses, including The Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Chicago Lyric Opera, Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opera Australia, and Glyndebourne. He has also performed at the Salzburg Festival. His concert and recital performances span both classical and contemporary repertoire and include the Berlin, New York, Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Strasbourg and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, and the New Zealand, London, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Paris and Tokyo Symphony orchestras, with world renowned conductors that include Davis, Dutoit, Gergiev, Daniel Harding, Harnoncourt, Mackerras, Mehta, Norrington, Pappano, Sir Simon Rattle and Summers.

Jonathan’s debut recital disc was awarded the Gramophone Magazine Debut Artist of the Year award. He subsequently released his first solo recording, with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and then a recital disc with Malcolm Martineau, also featuring the Belcea Quartet.

Jonathan is based in London

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Worldwide general management with Askonas Holt

Season Highlights

Oct 2023 - Nov 2023
English National Opera, London
Verdi La Traviata (Doctor) Richard Farnes (conductor) Ruth Knight (director)
Feb 2024 - Mar 2024
English National Opera, London
Mozart Magic Flute (Speaker & Sarastro) Erina Yashima (conductor) Simon McBurney (director)
Apr 2024
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Berlioz La Damnation de Faust (Brander) Kazuki Yamada (conductor) City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Selected Repertoire

ShostakovichSymphony No. 14



  • L’incoronazione di Poppea (Seneca)

    The Grange Festival
    Jun 2024 - Jun 2024
    • The sonorous bass of Jonathan Lemalu’s Seneca brought warmth of tone and character, but it was a shame the madrigal with which his friends bid him adieu was sung unseen from the wings.

    • Jonathan Lemalu is a commanding Seneca with an unwavering moral compass.

    • Jonathan Lemalu’s richly sonorous Seneca is a sombre and inward-looking presence among Nero’s frivolous, vicious imperial court;

    • The men were splendid, particularly Jonathan Lemalu’s velvety deep Seneca and Christopher Lowrey’s troubled and weak Ottone.

    • When you have such singers as Anna Bonitatibus and Jonathan Lemalu to cast as Ottavia and Seneca respectively, the temper of the production is bound to rise whenever they take the stage. Ottavia’s great lament for her rejected status and her anguished farewell to Rome were high points of the evening, just as Seneca’s perorations on life and death were not only superbly sung but deeply affecting.

    • On stage, Jonathan Lemalu is a joy, drawing us right into Seneca’s final moments, with an earthy voice to savour.

    • Wonderfully sensitive singing from American counter-tenor Christopher Lowrey as Ottone, and Samoan bass Jonathan Lemalu gave a superbly grounded presence to Nero’s tutor Seneca.

    • Christopher Lowery’s suitably wimpish but clear-voiced Ottone is a pawn in her hands. Jonathan Lemalu is a noble, stentorian Seneca

    • Como Seneca, Jonathan Lemalu impostó un seguro timbre y una dicción impecable en claridad y sentido.

    • Anna Bonitatibus gives a searing account of Ottavia without histrionics, while Jonathan Lemalu is an unruffled Seneca, benignly sonorous rather than stentorian.