Johan Botha was a South African-born heldentenor, who performed in opera houses worldwide. (A heldentenor (“heroic tenor”) is a tenor with “a powerful [voice] of wide range,” according to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music.)
Botha (August 19, 1965-September 8, 2016) was known for his command of difficult roles, such as parts in Otello, Parsifal and Die Meistersinger von Nürenberg. One of his most trying parts was as Apollo in Daphne by Richard Strauss. In a 2005 review in The New York Times, critic Anthony Tommasini noted Botha “sang the punishing role of Apollo with clarion sound and virile phrasing.”
Botha was introduced to the international stage with his performance of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at the Opera Bastille in 1993. Since then, he performed (among other stages) at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Royal Opera House, Paris Opera, Salzburg Festival and Vienna State Opera, where he was in 222 performances in 22 different roles.
“Remembering Johan Botha” by Fred Plotkin on the WQXR blog Operavore