Farewell, Johan Botha 1965-2016
The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra board, management and musicians are devastated at the passing of Johan Botha in Vienna early this morning. We will also remember his courage, his warmth, his generosity and above all his glorious voice. We are proud to have worked with him several times, most recently in what turns out to have been his last acclaimed concert, on August 13, at Artscape Opera with the Bernhard Gueller on the podium, and singers Goitsemang Lehoybe, Bongiwe Nakani and Mandla Ndebele.
We wish his wife, Sonja, his sons and his parents strength as they cope with their huge loss.
Johan Botha, KammersÃ¤nger in Vienna, one of the most illustrious positions in the opera world, was one of the most important singers of our time, with constant appointments at the most important opera houses and festivals worldwide. These included appearances at the Staatsoper in Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg and Munich, the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona, the Lyric Opera in Chicago, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Opera Bastille and ThÃ©Ã¢tre ChÃ¢telet in Paris. He regularly performed at the Metropolitan Opera and the Wiener Staatsoper, where he made his debut in 1996 and he sang in operas such as Straussâ€™s Daphne and Frau ohne Schatten, Mascagniâ€™s Cavalleria Rusticana, Leoncavalloâ€™s Pagliacci, Verdiâ€™s Don Carlo, I Vespri Siciliani, AÃ¯da and Otello, Beethovenâ€™s Fidelio, Wagnerâ€™s Lohengrin, Parsifal, Die WalkÃ¼re, Meistersinger von NÃ¼rnberg, Der fliegende HollÃ¤nder and TannhÃ¤user, and Pucciniâ€™s Tosca and Turandot. In the summer of 2010 Johan Botha made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival in the role of Siegmund.
Apart from his opera appearances, he regularly sang in concert all over the world and collaborated with the most prestigious conductors, such as Barenboim, Boulez, Bychkov, Dohnanyi, Gatti, Gergiev, Janssons, Levine, Maazel, Pappano, Petrenko, Welser-MÃ¶st, Thielemann and Young.
His recordings include CDs of AÃ¯da, Elektra, the Verdi Requiem, Die Meistersinger, Lohengrin and Die WalkÃ¼re.
In June 2012, he was appointed ambassador of the Blue Shield Foundation and last month was appointed honorary patron of Cape Town Opera.