Jonathan Abernethy began his career in arresting fashion as a boy soprano. In 2002 he joined New Zealand diva Dame Malvina Major as a soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s Jewish Psalms. In the same year he was again a soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in the New Zealand Arts Festival Stadium Spectacular in Wellington.
As a young tenor, Jonathan is now capitalising on that early success. Following a 2012 recital in Wellington, the city’s Capital Times drew attention to ‘a sweet-sounding natural lyrical tenor voice with good top notes and a natural personality that is refreshing, all assets that he uses with intelligence and skill’. Two years earlier, as Alfredo in a Wellington production of Die Fledermaus, Middle C Classical Music Reviews praised his gift for using ‘what sounded like a lovely lyric tenor voice to mellifluous effect’. In July 2013, his appearance as Don Ottavio in the Opera Australia/Oz Opera touring production of Don Giovanni was hailed as ‘a standout performance’.
Jonathan was the winner of the Joan F Stevens and Opera Australia Awards at the New Zealand Singing School in Napier in 2011. Late in 2012 he was invited to join the prestigious Opera Australia Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artist Program in Sydney. While with Opera Australia, he has sung the parts of Don Ottavio in Oz Opera’s Don Giovanni, Ruiz in Il Trovatore, Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor, and appeared as a soloist at the Sydney Opera House in Australian Opera’s Great Opera Hits. In 2014, his performances include the roles of Tamino in The Magic Flute, both in Sydney and on the Regional tour, and Fenton in Falstaff.
In New Zealand, Jonathan has also sung the tenor roles in such major oratorios as Haydn’s Creation and the Petite Messe Solenelle of Rossini. Prior to his move to Sydney with Opera Australia, he studied with Isabel Cunningham and Professor Terence Dennis in the renowned vocal studies department of Otago University’s School of Music. He has a degree in E-Commerce and information Systems from Victoria University in Wellington.
Jonathan continues to enjoy the support and mentoring of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.
Jonathan Abernethy is a member of the Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artist Program.