Covid woes, but Lemalu looks on bright side

International opera singer Jonathan Lemalu, son Joshua (13), wife mezzo-soprano Sandra Martinovic...
International opera singer Jonathan Lemalu, son Joshua (13), wife mezzo-soprano Sandra Martinovic and daughter Arabella (4). PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Despite an increasingly strict Covid-19 lockdown in Britain, opera singer Jonathan Lemalu still hopes to spend a "fantastic Christmas" at his London home with his young family.

The Dunedin-trained singer had hoped to visit his sister Selena in South London for Christmas lunch, but the restrictions prevented this, he said yesterday.

"We are not allowed on public transport to travel to see each other.

"It was our son’s birthday this week and we had to cancel the party as the new lockdown began two days before.

"Anything you would normally do, apart from go to a supermarket or a pharmacy, you can’t.

"Nothing spontaneous, no entertainment, no movies, theatres, zoos, no eating out, no shopping malls, no socialising, no ice skating, no West End shows, no pantomime, no Santa’s grotto, no toy stores, no Boxing Day sales."

They normally travelled to Croatia to be with his wife Sandra’s parents or tried to get home to Dunedin, but that was not possible.

However, despite growing restrictions and soaring infections, his family was "safe, and healthy, and warm".

"Considering everything, that’s a fantastic Christmas in my book.

"We’re incredibly grateful for our health and our family’s health worldwide, and conscious of wanting to keep others safe," Lemalu said.

Even without extra pre-Christmas restrictions, this year had already been "brutal", and many people had stopped expecting any normality long ago, after "so much change, cancellation and loss of income" as well as routines and structure since March.

"Theatres are looking to open in spring, so that will have been more than a year of cancelled work.

It was "incredibly disappointing" that many people were lax about their pandemic responsibilities; pubs were busy and people were "shopping without masks in shops and supermarkets".

The British Government had also been "too slow and indecisive" to get the pandemic under control, he said

His young family had all contracted Covid-19 in April, despite having been "very diligent" in their precautions since March.

"I coach opera and song at the Guildhall School of Music, and when I’m working on-site, have my mask on for 5 to 6 hours a day."

"Bring on the New Year - I can’t wait to see the back of 2020."


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