Monday 26 May 2008

Johan Botha too fat for Vienna..

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...


Horace Cope said...

Having just seen him do an excellent Lohengrin at Covent Garden - they must be mad to let him go ! If I were him I won't set foot on the Vienna stage again.

In some productions I can see his size being a problem. At Covent Garden people near the stage said he was wearing heels - no doubt in order to make him look taller and slimmer !

At the end of the day - the guy can sing - and that is what matters !

Anonymous said...

I think the current trend in thin Hollywood look-a-like opera singers is detracting from the beautiful art of operatic singing. I am an opera student myself and also a fellow South African and I am extremely proud of Mr Botha and I look up to him as does the whole SA music scene.

Anonymous said...

I saw him live last year in "Lohengrin" in Chicago and I must agree with Vienna's director. Mr. Bohta is morbidly obese and truly CANNOT move around on stage without difficulty. He's as wide as he is tall. I've read that he tips the scales at around 400 pounds.

AMY said...

They are doing opera as an art a big disservice.
People these days cannot HEAR, and they SEE with eyes attuned to superficial beauty.

Skeptical Voter said...

I saw him in a HD recorded Met performance of Otello (done in 2012). The voice is wonderful--the acting not so much

peter2uat said...

IM sorry to say, but Johan Botha has left this world today, hopefully to sing in a next one.
He will be missed, not only in Vienna!

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