13 October 1964 Celle – 26 April 2017 Berlin
In RA format
Wottrich studied violin and voice (with Ingeborg Hallstein) in Würzburg, then in New York
City at the Juilliard School. He made his debut in 1992 in Wiesbaden as Cassio, where he also sang Matthias (Evangelimann) that
season. 1993 to 1999 at the Berlin Staatsoper, then he continued his career as a freelancer, singing for instance Don Carlo in
Bonn, Tannhäuser at La Scala, Florestan at Covent Garden, Siegmund in Dresden, Stolzing in Stuttgart, Erik in Tokyo and
Parsifal in Oslo. Above all, he sang a lot in Bayreuth; his debut there took already place in 1996 (Young Seaman in Tristan),
and until 2009, he appeared regularly at the festival: David, Froh, Stolzing, Erik, Parsifal, Siegmund.
Sharp-tongued, eloquent and slightly paranoid, he was never shy of picking a fight with journalists (who always gave him a raw
deal in his opinion) or stage directors; his most spectacular fight was with German theater eccentric Christoph Schlingensief
about the latter's 2004 Parsifal staging in Bayreuth, which Wottrich (who sang the title role) called "puerile crap", and the
stage director an "utter Nazi" (Schlingensief was in fact the precise contrary of a Nazi), while insisting that "I use the word
negro whenever I want to, and won't let that a clown like Mr. Schlingensief prohibit me from doing so". On the other hand, he was
probably the only colleague who spoke openly (but very empathically and respectfully) about the psychological stress that
caused Rolando Villazon's vocal problems.
I knew Wottrich from the radio, and thought he was absolutely a nightmare singer; but when hearing him on stage (at the
Vienna Volksoper), I found him admittedly more acceptable than expected. In the wide space of a theater, a considerable
part of the unpleasant traits of his voice (the vibrato, above all) died away to some extent.
Reference 1, reference 2 and picture source, reference 3,
I wish to thank Helmut Krautschneider for the recording.