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As Lemalu sang playfully in Italian, he played with the hair of diners, squeezed their biceps and sang to them directly on bended knee.
As the fire in the restaurant roared, he effortlessly shimmied between tables, cradling a wine bottle like a baby.
When the fingers of pianist Prof Terence Dennis hit the final note, the sellout crowd erupted into applause.
Festival director Nicholas McBryde hosted the event last night and talked to Lemalu, ‘‘one of Dunedin’s favourite sons’’, about his career.
The start time for the ‘‘Cantate Canticum Novum’’ concert at St Patrick’s Basilica, Dunedin, on Sunday, featuring Jonathan Lemalu, is 7pm, not 7.30pm as published yesterday.