Vienna State Opera Intendant from 2010 Dominique Meyer, has stated that he finds tenor Johan Botha "too fat" and that he "cannot move on stage".
In the Neue Kronenzeitung Botha replies (my translation, not available online, but excerpts in German here):
Botha is annoyed:"I hardly know any thin Wagner tenors. A singer must eat and drink after long, stressful singing.. I will not apologize. But I try not to gain more weight. Botha cannot move, that is an empty phrase! "
Since his relocation from South Africa to Vienna, Botha has always been associated with the Vienna State Opera.
"I am happy director Holender was available. At least I understand one thing: For Holender and Klaus Bachler, I was good enough. I think in my fach, I have set a standard of singing and interpretation in Vienna. Both Christian Thielemann and Semyon Bychkov has confirmed this."
And what will Botha do in the Wagner (and Verdi) year 2013 at the Wiener Staatsoper? Botha: "Don´t ask me. I guess I am not wanted. But I am happy and I am contracted years in advance - even at the Met until 2015. Ask Mr. Meyer!"
Well. No disrespect to Johan Botha, who based on public appearances seems a both very pleasant and hard-working guy. And one has to respect him for working his way up from the 1990 Bayreuth Festival Chorus to land the biggest Wagnerian parts on all the major stages.
But I have also seen him live, and I will have to agree with Dominique Meyer on this one...