Bass baritone Fa‘afetai Jonathan Lemalu is a New Zealander of Samoan descent. He grew up in Dunedin. After graduating from London’s Royal College of Music, where he won the gold medal in 2002, he quickly gained an international reputation and he has since sung all over the world. Twenty years after his graduation, in 2022, he was awarded a prestigious honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Music later, and in the same year was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
He is heard here performing Schumann’s ‘Die beiden grenadiere’ in the finals of the 1996 Mobil Song Quest, at the Christchurch Town Hall, while he was still a young man. In the following three years he won the Australasian trifecta of the 1997 Dame Sister Mary Leo Scholarship, the 1998 Mobil Song Quest and the 1999 McDonald’s Operatic Aria Contest.
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Image: New Zealand Herald, 18 September 2000