Posted September 17, 2016
Posted September 16, 2016
An excerpt from Michael Lewin’s obituary,
International Artists’ Management:
The opera world loses one of the most significant voices of our time with the passing of Johan Botha. When he first appeared in the 90s he set a new standard with basically every role he added to his repertoire. It was never enough for him to be blessed with talent and a voice. Singing was his life, the daily work on his gifts was a given. It didn’t matter whether it was a role debut or the 60th performance, every performance was carefully prepared; he arrived hours before the curtain lifted at the theatre. He didn’t know what the word routine meant. Every performance was a premiere for him. His commitment towards the art and the audience shaped his essence. Before he got ill, he took over significantly more performances of colleagues than he had cancelled himself. He was able to sing most of the roles he had wanted to sing, merely Tristan, which he had been working on until recently and Peter Grimes remain unfulfilled dreams.
Johan Botha was a devout man – his family and especially his wife where the centre of his life. In 1998 he obtained together with his family Austrian citizenship.
He was, without exaggeration one of the most honest artists in this métier and everybody who has met him can attest to that. He was characterized not only by his unconditional commitment to his profession but also by the seriousness with which he analysed the great masterpieces and by the constant self-critical analysis of his art. Envy was an alien concept to him. Whenever he talked about his colleagues, he talked of them with admiration. He never rejected young colleagues who asked for his advice, no matter how busy his schedule was.