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Endrik Wottrich’s ‘amazing laugh was his best opus’

April 27, 2017 by norman lebrecht

10 comments.


The German tenor spent yesterday at home in Berlin chatting to friends on the phone. He had a full schedule planned for today. At some point late in the day, he died – ‘of natural causes’, friends say.

UPDATE: We are told it was a heart attack.

He had collapsed a few times in the past year, but doctors could not find a cause. He is survived by a brother, an aunt and an uncle.

Endrik enjoyed life, loved shopping, cultivated friendships. The Berlin-based American soprano Laura Aikin, a close pal, offers this tribute:

Endrik Wottrich 1964-2017 😭💔

My dear friend of many years. We started out together at the Staatsoper Berlin. I was singing Papagena, he was erste Geharnischte. I remember hearing his voice for the first time. He saw the shock and awe in my face, winked and laughed knowing he had just blown me away.

We shared the stage countless times; were friends through thick and thin, drama and crisis. His voice was glorious, but for me perhaps his amazing laugh was his best opus. Dedicated to his students and never relenting from pursuing the incredibly high standards he set for himself, he knew both triumph and deep despair. Wrapped in his armor of muscle, he made battle with the world. His injuries were not few, but they were outnumbered by his many glorious victories. In his far too short life, he brought much beauty to this planet. I will miss him like a brother. Rest In Peace, you silly goose.


Comments (10)

  1. Ungeheuer says:

    Wow. So so sorry to learn of his untimely passing. May he rest in peace. His was a name that came up often in operaworld. Hard to believe he is no longer around.

  2. Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester says:

    I met him first 16 years ago at the Wagnerian festival of Bayreuth. From then on we had a lot of performances there together. It was there where he, as the only tenor ever, made me cry on stage: he sang his first Stolzing and I my first Kothner when singing his first aria I stood in front of him while he put that much hesrtblood into his voice I was unable to keep my tears from rolling down my face.
    A few years later we both had another debut together: he as Parsifal and I as Amfortas. I loved his emotional Portrait of Parsifal I really have to say. He was a strong fighter (which I aleays admired) – not always very reasonable and lucky in his choice of weapons but always trying very hard to fight for the right thing: justice, reliability and authenticity – these were always very important to him. I am shocked that we lost this strong character and personality he was – rare enough in our singers world. May God bless his soul so he may reducing peace. Farewell my friend.

  3. Fabio Luisi says:

    A wonderful musician and a wonderful human being. He sang Alfredo (!) in Traviata with me at the Staatsoper Berlin, long before becoming a great Wagner-Tenor. An always positive (despite of many offenses he had to take) , humble and sensitive (too sensitive!) person. I will miss him.

  4. Birgit beer-williams says:

    Endrik wottrich was an artist,and a human being with the highest standards,which made it at times imossible to have a smooth contact,but he was there for you,in times of need or despair
    I am so glad that we recently rekindled our very intense friendship,and I had the absolute joy to listen to his effortless arindal of “die Feen” in leipzig last year.he was in Topform!
    Healthwise there were concerns,and he pushed himself too far,,to let go was Impossible .he aimed constantly for justice,authenticity,honesty.this was a stoney path,and very often he had to battle on all fronts because of this.
    It was his golden heart what I loved,his sense of humour.we helped each other through the worst of times.
    I wished I would have got through to him that there is more then wagner,music,and the sometimes too selfimportant theaterworld.
    Go into a forest,make a holiday..no..he had no time.but he always had time for me.
    So glad that I have seen him in la wally in Vienna just recently.
    He always encouraged me to keep singing,our fidelio production in Linz in 2011was a wonderful collaboration,where he was the finest colleague you can wish for.
    I had a conversation with him yesterday lunchtime,be seemed a bit nervous,but we had a warm and nice chat.if i knew i speak with him the last time,i would have told him how much he really meant to me.i hope he finds peace now.

  5. Nicholas Milton says:

    Endrik was an extraordinary man – an artist of the deepest integrity, and a gentle, caring and lovely human being. We were roommates together for two memorable years at Julliard almost thirty years ago (1990-91) and he was always one of my dearest and most loyal friends. An unforgettable, inimitable colleague who lived for his music but never lost touch with the humorous side of our profession. I will never forget our Beethoven 9 in Stuttgart. He wrote to me just a couple of weeks ago to tell me of his joy singing at the Volksoper, what incredible and wonderful colleagues he was making music with, and how supportive the chorus was. He was happy and inspired … singing until the end. RIP dear friend.

    1. Laura Aikin says:

      Hi, Nick. I’ve been thinking of you. I know you guys were really close. He was indeed very happy for his most recent performances, and looking forward to his first Herod. We will all miss him so much. <3

  6. DESR says:

    So good to hear of his humanity and friends, as I only knew his voice before.

    I then dimly recalled a ‘scandal’ when he sang in Parsifal at Bayreuth.

    https://www.operanews.com/Opera_News_Magazine/2004/7/News/Accusations_Over_Schlingensief_s_Parsifal_Degrade_into_P_R__Disaster_for_Bayreuth.html

    What on earth was this all about? Seems he and Christoph Schlingensief were calling each racists while Parsifal was being prepared?

    Can anyone put the record straight or shed any light?

    I had no idea he and Katharina stepped out… She will be hit by this.

    1. Laura Aikin says:

      Christoph and Endrik disagreed on the production. Being two big personalities, things got very tense. The press exacerbated the situation by sensationalizing it. Yes, Katharina and Endrik were a couple many years, but it didn’t work out. That utterly normal situation was made much more difficult by the previous one. Water under the bridge.

  7. Babett weber says:

    Rip beautiful soul you will be missed by the makeup department at the royal opera house in coventgarden xxx very sad news….


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