San Francisco Opera Mourns the Passing of South African Tenor Johan Botha

Release date: 9/8/2016    



Johan Botha Media Advisory.pdf  Photos Available

 San Francisco Opera mourns the unexpected passing of acclaimed South African tenor Johan Botha who died today in Vienna at the age of 51. Botha made his sole appearance with San Francisco Opera in November 2009 in the title role of Verdi’s Otello. Company Music Director Nicola Luisotti led the cast which included soprano Zvetelina Vassileva as Desdemona and baritone Marco Vratogna as Iago in a Peter Hall production directed by Stephen Barlow.

“I worked with Johan from the very beginning of my career in 1994 with a performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in Catania, Italy,” said Maestro Luisotti. “I had the great pleasure of working with him in many operas in Europe and, of course, here in San Francisco. He had a stunning voice, a fresh sound and he was capable of singing almost anything in the operatic repertoire. The opera world has truly lost a great artist today, and I am without words to express my sadness.”

San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock commented, “The entire company grieves with today’s unexpected news at the passing of tenor Johan Botha. He was an extraordinary singer with great dramatic presence on the stage, an artist who gave the Bay Area one of the most remarkable performances of Otello in recent years. We join our international colleagues in mourning this loss.”

In addition to the San Francisco Opera, Johan Botha was a leading tenor with the world’s most distinguished opera companies, including Vienna State Opera; Milan’s Teatro alla Scala; London’s Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Bayreuther Festpiele; Munich’s Bavarian State Opera; Lyric Opera of Chicago and New York’s Metropolitan Opera. His broad repertory encompassed the title roles in Verdi’s Don Carlo and Otello; the title role in Wagner’s Tannhäuser and Walther in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; Calaf in Puccini’s Turandot and Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio, among many other roles.

To watch an interview with Johan Botha in San Francisco and excerpts of the Company’s Otello, please click this link