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Opera Reviews


Opera Holland Park

Those familiar with this less-performed addition to the G&S canon will be waiting for "When The Night Wind Howls", the ghosts of accursed barons past, bearing the marks of their terrible demises, released for Hallowe’en, the Spectres’ Holiday. What a set piece it is, magnificently sung by Sir Roderic (Stephen Gadd in top form) and the men’s chorus and lit by Mark Jonathan to capture the full potential of the Holland House backdrop. A more exhilarating ten minutes of theatre you will not see all year. 

Broadway World, Gary Naylor, 

10 August 2023

Lighting designer Mark Jonathan, meanwhile, has some fun with the maxed-out Gothic scene where the Murgatroyd portraits in the ancestral hall step down from their frames to terrify the current holder of the Murgatroyd title into submission.


The Stage, George Hall, August 10. 2023



Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Theater an der Wien

Die abwechslungsreiche und spannende Lichtregie lag in den Händen von Mark Jonathan. 

Merker -Harald Lacina, 20.12. 2021

Susanna / Iolanta

Opera Holland Park

Mark Jonathan’s lighting warms and flickers as Iolanta’s sight returns

Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 24 July 2019,


 Designer takis' setting, beautifully lit by Mark Jonathan, suggests art nouveau Vienna or Munich


Clare Colvin, Sunday Express,28th July 2019

Beautiful productions for both, the first in a staging by John Wilkie with gloriously colourful designs by takis, superbly lit by Mark Jonathan.

...this simple production by Olivia Fuchs, also with designs by takis and cleverly lit by Mark Jonathan, gave it far more power than I have previously seen in a concert performance.


Mark Ronan, The Article, 1st August 2019

Dead Man Walking

Welsh National Opera

Karen Kamensek’s WNO Orchestra, sited on stage as part of the community, brings Broadway swagger to the bluesy score yet the focus never wavers, propelled visually by Mark Jonathan and Misty Buckley’s minimalist lighting and design. 

Steph Power, The Stage 10 June 2019,



It was all very simple, but highly effective in defining and altering the claustrophobic intensity of the drama, which was successfully magnified by Mark Jonathan’s lighting.

Alan Neilson, OperaWire, June 2019


A Midsummer's Night Dream

Guildhall School

Gloriously lit by Mark Jonathan


Claire Seymour, Opera Magazine, April 2019,



The Enchanted Island

British Youth Opera , Peacock Theatre

Stuart Barker’s sparky direction, Mark Jonathan’s verdant lighting and Nicky Shaw’s designs (earthy and unkempt for the spirit world, 1930s cruise-ship neat for the travellers) work beautifully together.

Rebecca Franks, The Times

Nicky Shaw’s designs were simple but beautiful, the Peacock Theatre stage being crafted into a graceful walled semicircle, lit by Mark Jonathan in flickering maritime blues and woodland greens. Moreover, no elaborate Baroque deus ex machina was required to effect the necessary magic and metamorphosis; the transference, mid-Act 1, from the parched island shore to the splendid prow of the SS Utopia, where the eloping foursome preened, posed and sipped Pimms, was a masterly stroke, and the subsequent shipwreck no less elegantly catastrophic.”


Claire Seymour, Opera Magazine, November 2018

The Rake's Progress

British Youth Opera , Peacock Theatre

Splashes of colour - crimson red for Mother Goose’s brothel, hubristic purple of Sellem’s auction - and the modulation of Mark Jonathan’s lighting from the bright light of day to the darkness of graveyard despair, and finally to washed-out pallor amid the shadowy horrors of Bedlam, did good service to the plot.

Clare Seymour, Opera Today 7th September 2018

“The production, sensitively directed by Stephen nwin, had striking designs by James Cotterill including a Howard Hodgkin-esque drop curtain, with Mark Jonathan’s lighting changing the colour between scenes.”


Robert Hugill, Opera Magazine, November 2018

The ensemble works superbly in the clutter-free space designed by James Cotterill. Was it as wry mock-competition with the classic Hockney Rake first seen at Glyndebourne that the late Howard Hodgkin is the reference point? His splodges stylishly inform the gilded frame, a drop cloth variously and effectively lit by Mark Jonathan and the various colour-schemes through the opera's nine scenes, the spattered hanging at the back gradually falling to strip away all theatrical illusion in the final madhouse ritual.

David Nice,The Arts Desk, 7th September 2018

The Tale of Januarie


The director Martin Lloyd-Evans and the designer Dick Bird captivatingly articulated the seasonal progression. A calendrical frieze framed the stage; a suspended gilded orb traced the arc of winter’s star, via summer sun, to harvest moon. Nature transformed the outstretched branches of the imposing pear tree: spring blossom became verdant summer foliage, and the pendant golden pears of autumn gave way to a frosted lattice. The detailed costumes and the lighting designer Mark Jonathan’s evocative palette recalled the dazzling colours and heartiness of Pieter Breughel...


Claire Seymour, Opera Magazine, May 2017

Orfeo ed Euridice

Scottish Opera


Engel’s revolving shattered-glass box of a set and fabulous costumes are enhanced by Mark Jonathan’s beautiful Wieland Wagneresque lighting, bringing a timeless bella semplicita (beautiful simplicity) to Gluck and Calzabigi’s austere “theatrical action”.


Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 1 March 2015


Engel’s set-a transparent, open-ended cube on a stage revolve, decorated with a large, fractured dial, all fabulously coloured by Mark Jonathan’s lighting-had classy and seamless written all over it.

Andrew Clark, Opera Magazine, April 2015

First impressions include the striking designs and stage pictures, designed by Johan Engels and lit by Mark Jonathan. They have used vivid colour to create a series of dreamlike worlds on stage, reflecting Orfeo’s journey: from the fragile purity of his grief, to the threatening and sinister Underworld, and to the pastoral idyll of Elysium. 

The joint effort of Scottish Ballet's former Artistic Director Ashley Page as director and choreographer and the late Johan Engels as designer works well, and the success of Mark Jonathan's varied lighting schemes adds much to the atmosphere. 

Opera Scotland, 2015

The Rape of Lucretia

Guildhall School of Music & Drama


I shall not beat about the bush. This was the best performance of The Rape of Lucretia I have seen. It would be difficult – indeed unduly contrived, if not quite so contrived as the opera’s wretched Epilogue – to find anything much at which to cavil in the excellent performances from Guildhall musicians under Dominic Wheeler, or indeed in Martin Lloyd-Evans’s taut, powerful, musical production. Seen in the round, the orchestra at the same level as the stage, this could be experienced almost as a piece of music theatre, and emerged all the more strongly for it. Jamie Vartan’s designs are spare but telling, Mark Jonathan’s lighting subtly doing a great deal of the work.


Mark Berry, Seen & Heard International, 24 February 2016

The Magic Flute                                                         Scottish Opera

Mark Jonathan's lighting has all the tropes of classic dramatic theatre with stroboscopic lamps and an impressive range of colours projected through every nook and cranny on-stage - a fine spectacle.

William J A Parker, Opera Guide Scotland,5 may 2019


With set and costume design by Simon Higlett, and lighting design by Mark Jonathan, we are taken into a world of magic symbolism fusing with Victorian industrial power and the combined results are visually stunning and it is obvious that great care has been taken at every stage of this production’s visual look.

Tom King, Edinburgh Southside Advertiser 5 June 2019

Simon Higlett’s inventive set is simply awe-inspiring and lighting designer Mark Jonathan emphasises it. 5 June 2019

Mark Jonathan’s lighting is marvellously atmospheric, giving us gloomy shadows, bright sunshine and sinister flashes of lightning as required. All in all, a visual feast. 23 June 2019

Mark Jonathan’s lighting was creative, atmospheric and full of colourful surprises as shafts of light cut through clouds of boiler steam. I enjoyed the costume lighting with fairy lights for the Three Ladies and Queen of the Night’s dresses, spotlights in stovepipe hats and pink head-torches for Monostatos’ henchmen.

David Smythe, bachtrack    6 May 2019

Mark Jonathan's stunning lighting...                      Catriona Graham, The Opera Critic, November 30th 2012


Simon Higlett's toy theatre-style design, lit with dappled invention by Mark Jonathan, has plenty to enchant.

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer,           21 October 2012

Mark Jonathan’s lighting bewitches the eye.

Andrew Clark., The Financial Times, 22 October 2012


Simon Higlett’s seven-windowed rotunda design is stunning and practical. It is lined with moveable anatomy theatre seating, done out in burnished wrought iron, with furnaces and industrial workers beneath, top-hatted gentry above. Mark Jonathan makes full use of small, modern light-sources in his clever lighting.

The Stage,Thom Dibden 18th October 2012

L’Amore dei tre Re

Opera Holland Park


Lloyd-Evans catches exactly the pervasive mood of simmering unrest in the monochrome brutalism of Jamie Vartan’s set and Mark Jonathan’s interrogatory lighting: the medieval Italian setting is transformed into a totalitarian state of our own time.

Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source, 22 July 2015



The Turn of the Screw

Opera Holland Park

As the light outside went down and the opera came to an end Mark Jonathan’s excellent lighting, which had earlier provided a giant shadow for Quint, gave the blackboard on stage a red glow. Miles has finally called Quint a devil, the ghost vanishes but the boy expires.


Mark Ronan, 2 July 2014

The Rape of Lucretia, Theatre an der Wien

The non-vocal elements are the true stars of this production. Keith Warner's direction, combined with sets and costumes by Ashley Martin-Davis and lighting by Mark Jonathan make this an event of festival dimensions - exquisitely complimented on the musical front by Sian Edwards and the Klangforum Wien.


The Rape of Lucretia

Theater an der Wien

Grandiose Bilder, Vollendete Sänger

Regisseur Keith Warner, sein großartiger Ausstatter Ashley-Martin Davis und der ausgezeichnete Lichtdesigner Mark Jonathan lassen erst gar keine moralinsauren Belehrungen aufkommen

Kurier, Vienna (*****)

Keith Warner gelang eine packende Inszenierung. Durch seine subtile Personenführung schuf er für fast jede Szene eine dichte Atmosphäre, die das Publikum in eine selten erlebte Spannung versetzte. Ashley Martin-Davis gestaltete dazu ein zweistöckiges Bühnenbild, wobei der obere Teil den beiden „Chor“-Sängern vorbehalten blieb und der untere Teil durch oftmalige Verwandlung eine stimmungsvolle Szenerie für die Darsteller bot. Ausgezeichnet die Lichtregie von Mark Jonathan, die durch ihre Kreativität immer wieder beeindruckte


Udo Pacolt, Der Neue Merker

... die phantastischen Lichteffekte (Mark Jonathan) sorgen auch für einen optischen Hochgenuss.        Ernst Kopica, Die Opernfreund 25th Februar 2011 

Die einzelnen Szenen leuchtete Mark Jonathan schließlich noch gefühlsverdichtend aus.               Harald Lacina,     Die Opernfreund 27th Februar 2011

Francesca da Rimini

Opera Holland Park

Vartan's grey, abstract set, which reshaped itself cleverly, made the most of OHP's wide stage. The medieval-style costumes looked good and Mark Jonathan's versatile lighting design made effective use of flares as the evening darkened.

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer,       8th August 2010

Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Scottish Opera

Higlett's  quaint evocation of 19th century Seville, a street front facade givng way to a doll's house interior beautifully lit by Mark Jonathan

Andrew Clark, Opera, December 20


The cluttered multi-level room with many doors for comings and goings serves the product23ion well and I love the lights and birdcage swinging about in the storm scene. Higlett’s period costumes with a twist are eye-catching in detail and all is craftily lit by Mark Jonathan, bringing out bright Spanish colours.

Bachtrack, David Smythe 20 October 2023

The production exhibited a seamless flow of action, masterful orchestral performances, and meticulous attention to visual details, all brilliantly illuminated by Mark Jonathan’s exquisite lighting design.

North West End Nazaret Ranea

3 November 2023

Closely-observed visual detail, served by expert lighting.

Edinburgh Music Review.Donal Hurley. October 22, 2023

Creating a world on stage full of bright Spanish colour and interior design sets that reflect better days in times gone by for Rosina’s home is designer Simon Higlett. This set design is augmented by lighting designer Mark Jonathan.

Arts Reviews Edinburgh, Tom King 

3 November 2023

Simon Highett’s hugely impressive set design turning the Festival Theatre stage into a Spanish street, complete with cafés, antique brokers, and a few red light buildings courtesy of Mark Jonathan.

Corr Blimey, 6 November 2023 

n Simon Higlett's permanent set-albeit one that opens up spectacularly - and Mark Jonathan's atmospheric lighting, it is a very beautiful staging that takes inspiration from the crumbling, pastel-coloured palacios of Havana.

John Allison. The Sunday Telegraph.  14th October 2007

Ariadne auf Naxos

Los Angeles Opera

    Friedkin avoids anti-climax with some cinematic tricks of his trade- stunning visuals of the night sky, brilliantly evocative lighting, and finally an inspired closing gambit to unify both halves of the work, the simulated fireworks display as demanded by the rich patron 


Richard S. Ginell. Daily Varity. September, 2004


This is one of those productions where all the elements, from Sam Fleming's effective and witty costumes to David Bridel's hilarious choreography, Mark Jonathan's evocative and L.A-like lighting and Michael Curry's puppets, each a charming and inventive wonder, come together to make an evening of theatre, of music, of thoughtful philosophy that must be experienced. 

John Farrell. U Weekend. September, 2004


A wonderfully lit set.

David Gregson. Opera West. September, 2004


    ...crisp, witty direction by Friedkin, the beauty of the visual scheme (Edwin Chan's set, Sam Fleming's costumes and Mark Jonathan's lighting) and Curry's wonderful puppets (including an aria appreciating whale). Put their creative contributions together with this high powered cast and orchestra under the leadership of Negano, and you have a production that represents a new high-watermark for the company. 

Jim Parker. The Daily Breeze. September, 2004


    William Friedkin's ("The French Connection" and "The Exorcist") collaboration with Los Angeles Opera produced a re-creation of Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos that is exceptional in its immediacy, stunning beauty and sensuality, not to mention delightful entertainment. From the moment the curtain went up, all the elements - William Freidkin's superb vision and direction, the glorious set design by Edwin Chan, the magnificent lighting by Mark Jonathan, the imaginative costumes by Sam Fleming, the innovative use of puppets designed by Michael Curry, and the artists and orchestra exquisitely conducted by Kent Nagano - lived and breathed as a living, vibrant organism...


        ...The lighting design, especially in The Opera section, was outstanding. The gradual change from morning to twilight, the rich pinkish-red perfectly matching Zerbinetta's bustier while she performed her aria, was breathtaking. Even more spectacular was the gradual metamorphosis of the moon, which slowly emerges from the mists of twilight, transformed first into an eclipse of the sun, then spinning into a blood red moon, itself eclipsed by a radiant rainbow becoming the staircase for the arrival of Bacchus' ship which descends diagonally from the sky, the rainbow dissolving into a rain of shooting stars. What a glorious depiction of Ariadne's inner turmoil and Bacchus coming to sweep her off her feet. When Ariadne finally surrenders herself to Bacchus in a kiss, a white wreath, representing the conquering god, emerges from the night sky...


        This Ariadne auf Naxos is a rare and wonderful experience, not to be missed.


The Beverly Hills Outlook.

Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail

Opera du Rhin


    Les décors de Benoît Dugardyn sont très ingénieux: un succession de tableaux très simples, où l'on joue beaucoup sur les perspectives mais qui sont entrecoupés de tableaux dépeignant l'empire ottoman, le sérail inspirés de gravures persanes. Tout cela beau, très coloré et vivant, et comme notes exotiques des animaux: rhinocéros, crocodiles, girafes, aux comportements très drôles. C'est gai. Les costumes de Sue Wilmington sont élégants et montrent le contraste entre les costumes européens et ceux de Turquie au XVlllè siecle et les éclairages de Mark Jonathan sont très au point. 


Musique Novembre. 1998


    Deux ans après, la mise en scène de l'Anglais Stephen Lawless n'a rien perdu de sa fraicheur. Quelques bonnes travailles surtout pour l'aménagement des espaces, réhaussées par l'équilibre très heureux des décors et des éclairages. On pourait se croire devant un tableau de Vermeer. 


Alsace. 9 Novembre 1997


    Le décor est beau (perspective accélérée, système de "camera oscura" sur le salon de Blonde), les costumes reffinés et les lumières fort subtilement maîtrisées. Tout celà compose un tableau délicieux de fraicheur. 

Patrick Nicolle. Liberte. 29 Mai, 1996



Venus and Adonis/ Dido and Aeneas

Vlaamse Opera- Gent / Antwerp


    Wellicht past dit alles in Lawless' koncept, dat klassieke mythologie en 17 de-eeuwse denkpatronen met psychologische overwegingen verbindt: dat koncept zorgt trouwens voor exquise beelden - mede dank zij het erg mooie décor van Benoît Dugardyn (het lijkt wel een hommage aan Karl-Ernst Hermann, die trouwens op de première aanwezig was), dat prachtig wordt belicht door Mark Jonathan. 

Stephen Moens. De Morgen. November, 1997

L'elisir d'amore



.... with villagers fully engaged in their several and various exploits, whether pretending to read glossy magazines whilst eavesdropping on lovers at play, displaying new potion advertisements or brandishing umbrellas as rain reaches the Cotswolds. Lighting designer, Mark Jonathan finds a way to create those images of incoming rain showers, as well as managing to illuminate several different potion containers whilst maintaining a brightness on stage to clearly illustrate the complexity of the bitter-sweet comedy.

Seen & Heard International

Clive Peacock, 23 June 2023

Madama Butterfly


Puccini’s insistent, ecstatic score, aided by Mark Jonathan’s skilled lighting design, does the job of magical transformation


Fiona Maddocks, The Observer May 2018

The staging is poetically lit by Mark Jonathan

Melanie Eskenazi, MusicOMH – May 2018

Lighting by Mark Jonathan gave fine clarity, and beautiful magic when needed.

Mark Ronan, –20 May 2018

...the scene, brilliantly designed by Nicky Shaw and atmospherically lit by Mark Jonathan, establishes the tenor of Miskimmon’s production immediately: no queasy sentimentality, no room for cherry-blossom Japan.

Neil Fisher, The  Times, 17 October 2016


Annilese Miskimmon’s production, cleverly designed by Nicky Shaw and exquisitely lit by Mark Jonathan,


Melanie Eskenzie, Music OMH, , 18 October 2016 



Buxton International Festival

Elijah Moshinsky’s staging at the Buxton Festival with wonderful lighting by Mark Jonathan was very welcome indeed.

Mark Ronan, – 8 July 2018


Buxton International Festival

Stephen Medcalf’s excellent production with designs by Isabella Bywater subtly lit by Mark Jonathan gave us sea in the background and blown sand on the floor of an open building. I loved the temporary lighting effect of rendering the sand as the sea over which the Greek ships found their way back from Ilium

Mark Ronan, – 9 July 2018


Pelléas et Mélisande,

Welsh National Opera


The set created by the late Johan Engels:...a huge metal lattice-work that doubles well enough as a dark forest or the mysterious depths of an ancient castle, but mostly stands for the mental disorder of its inhabitants, not to mention their curiously misaligned relationships – as if half-brotherhood and step-motherhood were a recipe for psychological confusion, as perhaps they are. 


The effect of the stage picture is transformed by the lighting designer Mark Jonathan’s brilliant polyphony of darkness and light, and by Marie-Jeanne Lecca’s elegant, stylish pre-Raphaelite costumes, whites and sombre greys and browns in the first three acts, then exploding into bright red as the passion is unleashed in Act 4.  

Stephen Walsh, The Arts Desk                 30th May 2015


...the production offers a compelling proposition, grippingly lit by Mark Jonathan, and a musical performance of the utmost distinction.

What’s on Stage, Mark Valencia, 31st May, 2015


Johan Engels metal cage works surprisingly well and is superbly lit by Mark Jonathan, allowing the day light to creep in at the right moments but never overtake the darkness – even when the stars are out.                                     Lark, 30th May 2015

It would be wrong not to pour praise on the lighting from Mark Jonathan who gave us some visually intoxicating images throughout the night and particularly the use of Debussy blue light in the transfixing illumination of the skeleton tower.

Arts Scene in Wales, Mike Smith, June 2015


The effect of this grandly dominant, yet light, structure – which doubled well, as needed, as both castle and forest – was enhanced by the brilliantly conceived and executed lighting of Mark Jonathan. Marie-Jeanne Lecca’s costumes were more Pre-Raphaelite than truly medieval, in keeping with the faux medievalism of Maeterlinck’s play and Debussy’s opera.

 Seen and Heard International Glyn Pursglove 6th June 2015


Mark Jonathan's lighting realized the stultifying atmosphere to excellent effect.

Rian Evans, Opera Magazine, August 2015

Don Giovanni

Scottish Opera

Simon Higlett’s complex designs, evocatively lit by Mark Jonathan, conjure up a dreamlike 18th-century Venice...


George Hall, The Guardian, 16 October 2013

..handsomely designed by Simon Higlett to suggest the backstreets of Casanova’s Venice. The mood is dark, intensified by the chiaroscuro of Mark Jonathan’s lighting ...


Rupert Christansen, The Daily Telegraph, 16 Oct 2013


Sir Thomas Allen’s monumental production for Scottish Opera...Like his 2010 Marriage of Figaro, staged with the same inspired collaborators of designer Simon Higlett and lighting maestro Mark Jonathan,

The Scottish Daily Express,

Keith Aitken, 18th October 2013

Fantastically impressive sets allow the action to race through streets and canals, while artistic lighting – a background of dark shadows with characters picked out in beams of golden light – at times gives the production the sumptuousness of an oil painting.


Scottish Daily Mail, Andrew Beaven, 18th October 2013

Mark Jonathan and Simon Higlett, too, should be congratulated on their lighting and set design. The dark palette and clever lighting (or rather, s hadow) design kept the production cloaked in a veil ofmystery and reinforced the dark nature of the plot, in a subtle rather than overpowering way.


Edinburgh49  Madeleine Ash 19th November 2013

The Marriage of Figaro 

Scottish Opera


Mark Jonathan’s exquisite lighting...

Andrew Clark, Opera magazine,   

Jan 2011


Simon Higlett's gorgeous sets are both straightforward and stylish, allowing an assortment of vivid characterisations to command our attention and draw us into Mozart's sparkling world of farcical duplicity. Add to that Mark Jonathan's lighting teasing out miracles of detail, as well as broader atmospheric hues.

Kenneth Walton The Scotsman  31 October 2010


The production looks gorgeous in Simon Higlett's sets. During the overture we see a happy 18th-century farm scene – hay bushels in soft gold light, girls in bonnets, boys in broad-brimmed hats, some wholesome peasant hanky-panky in a corner. The bushels return as act four's night-time garden, now swirled in mist and watched over by twinkling stars on strings and a huge harvest moon. The effect is magical.  

Kate  Molleson,The Guardian    31st October 2010.

As with the Barber three years ago, Simon Higlett’s designs were creative with delightful colours, and were lit to perfection by Mark Jonathan.                               

James Munro Hi-Arts, 1st November 2010

Simon Higlett’s 18th Century designs elegantly raiding the canvasses of Fragonard and Stubbs, and Mark Jonathan’s dappled lighting adding a bright golden haze to all available meadows. But it’s also not without imaginative touches.

Richard Morrison, The Times 1st November 2010 sumptious “classical” sets and harmonious period costumes by Simon Higlett, beautifully lit by Mark Jonathan.

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 7th November 2010

Lit in balmy golds by Mark Jonathan, with a cornfield ever visible in the background of Simon Higlett's period set, Allen's gentle staging foregrounds character over class war...

Anna Picard,

The Independent on Sunday  7th November 2010

The performance unfolds with unusual fluency, thanks to Allen’s shapely ensembles and intelligent direction of the solos. Mark Jonathan’s lighting tells us that the action takes place in the course of a single day, and Simon Higlett’s visual evocation of the pre-1789 Almaviva estate – earthy rusticity out-of-doors, elegant perspectives indoors – is full of gentle surprises.


Andrew Clark, The Financial Times, 2nd November 2010


It is gorgeous to look at, needle-sharp in its design and atmospheric at every level, from rustic scene to intimate interior to a breathtaking nocturnal vista.

Michael Tumelty,The Herald, 1st November 2010 .


Sir Thomas's directorial debut with Scottish Opera in 2007 served up an excellent "Barber of Seville" and this made a logical follow-up. He was reunited with the same production team, led by designer Simon Higlett, with splendidly atmospheric and dramatically effective lighting by Mark Jonathan and choreography by Kally Lloyd-Jones.

KM, The Inverness Courier, 9th November 2010

This late summer setting is carried through in the old gold and russet palette of Simon Higlett's design, while Mark Jonathan's lighting realistically tracks the sun throughout the twenty-four hours of the action.

Catriona Graham, The Opera Critic, 23rd Nov 2010

That the whole flows and melds so seamlessly is testament both to the cast’s talent and Sir Thomas’s insightful direction. This is also a beautiful production to watch – Simon Higlett’s expansive sets and Mark Jonathan’s subtle and atmospheric lighting vividly evoke an idyllic rural setting, with scenes of rustic peasants at work juxtaposed with the languid grandeur of the Count’s elegant home.  There is a wonderful sense of space and airiness, an evocative power that pulls the viewer into a time and place long past, yet still with a tangible reality that hovers between the earthy and the ethereal.

Domenica Goduto What’s On 22nd Nov 2010

Marriage of Figaro Scottish Opera

Il Trittico

Los Angeles Opera

The Los Angeles Opera production of this work open Saturday, September 6th and was a perfect joy to behold. Creative stage direction met glorious singing, set against lush, gorgeous, and well detailed sets. One would hesitate to single out the lighting design in any production, but this was so well conceived, to not mention the outstanding effort of Mark Jonathan would be a unpardonable sin. Often, the sets were so beautifully lit that the breath would catch in one's throat in stunned surprise that such a mood was possible to convey inside a theatre. 

Dawn Southwick, Classical Voice, September 2008

Peter Grimes

Los Angeles Opera


    But where Arrighi and Schlesinger may have succeeded best is in the collaboration with lighting designer Mark Jonathan. Britten famously peppered his opera with six instrumental interludes meant to convey the ocean. (Often they are played against a blackout stage which is perfectly acceptable if unimaginative.) Schlesinger and his team, however, project light onto scrims as the music plays, thus cleverly amplifying Britten's suggestion of a rolling sea, storm clouds gathering, etc. 


David Mermelstein. Daily News. 24th October, 2000


    And in this new co-production of Los Angeles Opera and Teatro alla Scala, ours is the dark vision designed by Luciana Arrighi, with riveting lighting by Mark Jonathan, forcing us to stare into a watery tomb of chambered nautiluses and swirling death. 


Downtown Times


    Mark Jonathan's cleverly deployed dawn-to-midnight lighting preserves a believable atmosphere. 


Alan Rich. Variety. 23rd October, 2000


Mark Jonathan's lights worked moody wonders. 


Victoria Losseleaf. El Puente Latino. 31st October, 2000



....Warner went for Hitchcockian aesthetics. Ashley Martin-Davis’s set was dominated by giant, tarnished mirrors that sometimes reflected nothing at all and sometimes showed the truths the characters were reluctant to face, and the monochromatic, film-noir look sometimes took on actual cinematic fluidity in the video projections—of the chapel, snowstorm and so on—by Alex Uragallo that were integrated into the stage picture. Mark Jonathan’s lighting evoked a world in which time had been suspended. 

John Allison,Opera Magazine,  October 2018

There’s more than a whiff of Hitchcock in the scenario and this is the route that the director Keith Warner goes down in his visually stunning 1950s-set production. The Dior-type frocks are gorgeous, so are the platinum-blond wigs. Ashley Martin-Davis’s tarnished silver designs, complete with snowy projections, are wonderful, beautifully lit by Mark Jonathan.

Neil Fisher, The Times, 8th August 2018

Ashley Martin-Davis’s muted designs, dominated by sweeping staircase, interlocking mirrors and huge picture frames, with Alex Uragallo’s projections and Mark Jonathan’s lighting, help maintain the tension and look magnificent.


Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 12th August 2018


The stunning set by Ashley Martin-Davis, beautifully lit by Mark Jonathan with projections by Alex Uragallo, should get an award in itself.


Clare Colvin , Sunday Express, 12th August 2018

Past and present are brilliantly fused by Ashley Martin-Davis’s designs and Mark Jonathan’s lighting.

…As Jonathan flecks the monochrome palette, dramatized by chiaroscuro, with sepia and blue tints, reflections of the opera’s characters merge with ghosts of the past glimpsed through the deceiving glassy surfaces, in a surreal dance of time which conjures unsettling and unanswerable questions about history and identity. 

Claire Seymour , opera today, 7th August 2018

 Near-monochrome designs by Ashley Martin-Davis evoke the suspense of film noir and the opacity of Last Year at Marienbad; vast heavy-framed mirrors loom over the characters and reveal more than just their reflections thanks to award-worthy lighting by Mark Jonathan and projections by Alex Uragallo.


Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, 6th August 2018 

With Mark Jonathan’s wonderful lighting illuminating images within, behind and in front of the mirrors, the visual beauty of Ashley Martin-Davis’s remarkable designs recalls those black and white photographs on which subtle colouring was occasionally superimposed. A wonderful evocation of the passing of time.

Mark Ronan, – 6th August 2018

​In monochrome shades the design by Ashley Martin-Davies is ravishingly lit by Mark Jonathan.

Claudia Pritchard, Culture Whisper, 8 August 2018,


Glyndebourne, DVD recording:

Frightened of what she might see ‘through a glass darkly’, she looks only into herself. So Warner dwarfs her with gigantic moving mirrors, their reflections inescapable. Past, present and future merge – sometimes simultaneously. Noirish filmed projections heighten the surreal, dreamlike quality and take us obliquely into the world of Rebecca, Vertigo and Marnie. Lighting designer Mark Jonathan even lights it like a film noir.

Edward Seckerson, Gramophone, .August 2019 

Il Turco in Italia

Garsington Opera


...the pitch perfect, period detailing of Francis O’Connor’s set and the precision of Mark Jonathan’s lighting. The lighting achieves unusual significance in this production...


Anna Picard, The Times, 28 June 2017 

Dead Man Walking

Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen

Phelan’s hard-hitting production went for the big moments with no holds barred. At the end of the opera, the sure rotation of Nicky Shaw’s set and subtle shifts in Mark Jonathan’s lighting were almost unbearable, coming just as Heggie’s tutti orchestra and singers ratcheted up the tension toward the opera’s climax—the sound of nothing but the death chamber’s mechanics.


Andrew Mellor, Opera News 24 th January 2017

The Marriage of Figaro

Scottish Opera


Beautifully designed and lit by Simon Higlett and Mark Jonathan, this revival of Thomas Allen’s 2010 production (the first of the distinguished singer’s three Mozart stagings for Scottish Opera) was never less than easy on the eye. As the peasants larked about in the overture — a scene straight out of a Stubbs landscape — there was such a bright golden haze on the meadow that I thought I had strayed into Oklahoma! by mistake. And the subsequent interiors of the Almaviva mansion, while economical with the actualité, were always impeccably 18th century — something of a pleasant surprise these days.

 Richard Morison, The  Times, 14 October 2016

Allen was working as he did for Scottish Opera's  successful  Barber of Seville with designer Simon Higlett and lighting designer Mark Jonathan... Figaro is very often performed but difficult to pull off and there are few productions, in my experience that linger in the memory. This is sure to be one.        *****Neil Jones, Opera Now, Jan/Feb 2011

I Puritani

Welsh National opera


High praise must go to lighting director Mark Jonathan who gives the production a sepulchral film noir atmosphere. Shafts of light cast threatening shadows which heighten the tension and certainly suggest what it must be like to sink into the pit of despair.

  Peter Collins Wales online 12th September 2015


cleverly half-lit (and Mark Jonathan’s haunting use of shadows deserves mention)


Stephen Walsh, The Arts Desk, 12 September 2015


Mark Jonathan’s lighting adds to the unreality of the situation, and you could feel how acutely Bellini’s great ensemble was casting its spell on the audience. Lighting is a key ingredient of the production, and the way in which so much of Act 2 is dimly lit has the effect of pushing the music to the fore. Indeed, a strong sense of complementariness between stage and pit throughout makes this an uncommonly compelling Puritani, rather than merely a musically satisfying one.

John Allison, Opera Magazine, October 2015


Scottish Opera

Adroitly designed by Nicky Shaw with Lighting by Mark Jonathan                       

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 12th April 2015


 Atmospherically lit by Mark Jonathan

 Opera, Andrew Clark, June 2015


Welsh National Opera

The magnificent, vibrant and passionate playing of the WNO Orchestra under Lothar Koenigs was surely a definitive interpretation of the complex intricacies of the demanding score. I don’t think I have ever heard so many colours emerge from that orchestral pit and the success of this production starts from this strong foundation. The hard-edged set-design by Johann Engels and the creativity of Marie Jeanne Lecca’s costumes, combined with the magical experience of Mark Jonathan’s lighting design ensures that Pountney’s vision is crafted and enhanced by individuals at the top of their game.

Bethan Dudley Fryar, Opera Brittannia,11th February 2013

Colourful, yet capable of huge coldness towards the end, courtesy of Mark Jonathan’s clever lighting, this production allows us to see Lulu’s abject amorality and the fascination she exerts on those around her.

Johan Engels’ set recalls the circus of the prologue, perhaps even the meta-human achievements of the 2012 Olympics, and the animal heads used in Marie-Jeanne Lecca’s costumes recall the convergence of humanity and inhumanity in The Story of O.

Mark Ronan’s Theatre Review, 9th February 2013

Pountney himself seizes on strong hints in Berg to turn this dramaturgical jungle into a visual and theatrical delight, marvellously designed by Johan Engels, Marie-Jeanne Lecca and Mark Jonathan.

The Arts Desk, Stephen Walsh  Saturday, 09 February 2013

La Traviata

Scottish Opera

Mark Jonathan’s stunning lighting effects, 

Keith Aitken, The Scottish Daily Express,  5th Oct 2012


Resourceful decor and lighting, including silhouette and false perspective, expand the imaginative scope of the stage ...


The Financial Times, Andrew Clark, 

23rd September 2012


Mark Jonathan’s striking lighting design, including the imaginative use of silhouettes, underlined the puppet-like fragility of the characters.

The Daily Telegraph, Susan Nickalls, 8 March 2013

Yevgeny Onegin, 

Opera Holland Park

Wonderfully subtle lighting changes by Mark Jonathan helped alter the emotional tone of events, and Alexander Polianichko’s conducting gave a fine example of Russian brass playing at the start of Act III. This is a must-see.         

Mark Ronan’s Theatre Review 18th July 2012

Don Pasquale, Opera Holland Park

Mark Jonathan's lighting changes sunshine to rain in an instant: as Ernesto walked on huddled in his anorak at the start of act two to a melancholy trumpet solo, you could almost feel the dampness in the air.

Erica Jeal,       The Guardian, 9th June 2011

There is much wit and ingenuity in Colin Richmond’s set designs and Mark Jonathan’s lighting contributed to the fun, including evocations of the changeable nature of the British weather. 

Richard Nicholson Classical 7th June 2011


Lighting by Mark Jonathan was very good, lending a romantic atmosphere to Act III, particularly in the way the new establishment was lit, and in the illumination of the two old fashioned street lights, both of which burst their bulbs at the end of the Pasquale-Malatesta duet in Act III — a nice touch.              Mark Ronan’s Theatre Reviews 8th June 2011

...director Stephen Barlow has harnessed the characteristic changeable gloom of the British summer to create a modern and very British Don Pasquale that will resonate with anybody used to taking seaside holidays in this country. It is an ingenious treatment, finely honed by the work of lighting designer Mark Jonathan,

Ruth Elleson, Opera Today, 20th June, 2011

La Forza del Destino

Opera Holland Park

Yet it is a mark of the strength of Martin Duncan's production – with starkly atmospheric designs by Alison Chitty, and imaginatively lit by Mark Jonathan – that the plot's concentric circles not only hold together but steadily tighten their grip right up to the unexpected final glimpse of redemption.


George Hall

The Guardian        Wednesday 28 July 2010


Director Martin Duncan and designer Alison Chitty solve the problem of the many scenes by using a textured backcloth that, with the aid of Mark Jonathan's innovative lighting, conveys changes of time and place.

Clare Colvin Sunday Express                    1st August 2010. 


The production by Martin Duncan works very well, with wonderful designs by Alison Chitty, whom I recall doing magical work for Birtwistle’s Minotaur at Covent Garden in April 2008. Here she did another piece of magic. Act III had a black cloth backdrop with chairs hanging in front, along with red cords stretching from floor to rafters at various angles. Lampshades hanging from the rafters were lit blue, and the chairs were projected onto the backdrop. Mark Jonathan’s dark lighting on this set produced the effect of a Kandinsky painting, which I thought entirely appropriate to the time in which the opera was set, namely early-mid twentieth century. Altogether this was a superbly designed production using little more than chairs as props — brilliant.

Mark Ronan’s Theatre Reviews 15 August 2010

Hansel & Gretel

LA Opera

From the beginning, with the opening view of the broom-maker’s cottage at the edge of the woods, there are wonderful visual surprises: smoke from the chimney, lights going on in the cottage, dancing chairs and tables, the cosmic fizz of the witch’s broomstick entering the darkening clouds. The opening scene, pastoral and unthreatening until Hansel and Gretel are shunted off to the forest by their resentful mother, shape-shifts soon into a darkly breathing forest, somber in greens and grays, with patches of light being gobbled up by ominous shadows. 

As the light changes, the mood changes. The children, coming down from their adventure, tired and scared, lonely and hungry, begin to rassle with each other. The ambiance, and Mark Jonathan’s evocative lighting, change ominously as sundown magically turns up the light in the giant mushrooms that shelter the pair, who are joined by some wild and woolly, oddly shaped, cartoony forest creatures with illuminated eyes (also Fitch’s cool creations), which are cute and funny rather than scary.

Madeleine Shaner, Reuters, / Hollywood Reporter

Don Pasquale

Los Angeles Opera


Mark Jonathan's inspired lighting design breathes life into the production 


David Mermelstein. L.A. Life. 18th April, 2001

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