insightful in-depth reviews

10, Sep 2016

Johan Botha dies

by Steve Cohen
The Cultural Critic

With sadness, we mark the death of tenor Johan Botha of cancer at the age of 51 on September 8, 2016.

He sang in public as recently as June 2016, performing the role of Siegmund in Die Walkure in Budapest.

We were greatly impressed seeing him as the tenor lead in Tannhauser and Meistersinger in the past two seasons at the Met. He mastered those roles beyond any other singer of our time. He also was an effective Otello, though his voice lacked the Italianate squillo.

Botha admitted that he had a problem with weight, saying he tried every imaginable diet, but that didn’t matter in the mythic roles of Wagner and in Richard Strauss’s Die Frau Ohne Schatten. It’s a loss that he never was able to sing Tristan, which was next on his agenda.

Born and raised in South Africa, Botha made his home in Austria since the 1990s. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

We will miss Botha greatly, and call attention to our review of one of his recent triumphs here!