Johan Botha: Wiener Staatsoper Live (1997-2014)
Johan Botha’s unfailingly radiant and yet powerfully carrying voice established him over many years as a Strauss and Wagner singer par excellence, but most of all as a youthful hero, and not as a weighty heroic tenor. In fact, Tannhauser was something of a marginal role for him, but what a role! The recording of the Rome episode in the Vienna State Opera premiere of June 16, 2010, with which the release’s four-part Wagner portrait begins with excerpts from Vienna Staatsoper productions, movingly reveals how as a suffering yet passionate pilgrim he returns from Rome dejected and unredeemed. The bridal-chamber scene from the third act of Lohengrin looks back to Botha’s early years at the Staatsoper. Fifteen years later, he is an ideal Walther von Stolzing, who after a night of dreams reveals his Prize Song to cobbler-poet Hans Sachs, who in turn refines it and writes it down. The most moving scene comes perhaps at the close of Ariadne auf Naxos, when a figure hailed as Hermes, the divine messenger of death, proves to be Bacchus, the god of love. The recording captures one of Botha’s last appearances at the Vienna Staatsoper.
Catalog Number: ORF-C906171B
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Strauss, Richard Wagner
Conductor: Christian Thielemann, Donald Runnicles, Franz Welser-Möst, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Seiji Ozawa, Semyon Bychkov, Simone Young
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Performer: Angela Denoke, Cheryl Studer, Christian Gerhaher, Daniela Fally, James Rutherford, Johan Botha, Marjana Lipovsek, Michael Schade, Olga Bezsmertna, Rachel Frenkel, Ricarda Merbeth, Soile Isokoski, Valentina Nafornita