Deon van der Walt

28 July 1958 Capetown – 29 November 2005 near Paarl

Deon van der Walt sings Die Entführung aus dem Serail: O wie ängstlich

While still a student at Stellenbosch University, van der Walt gave his debut in Cape Town as Jacquino (1981). The same year, he won a first prize at a Mozart competition in Salzburg, where he continued his studies at the Mozarteum. A member of the opera studio of the Munich State Opera in 1982/83, he had his first regular contract in Gelsenkirchen (1983/84), then went on to Stuttgart (1985–87), and eventually Zürich (from 1987), where he stayed for good and where he also settled, becoming a Swiss citizen.

However, he sang in the whole world: Covent Garden (debut as Almaviva, 1985), Met (debut as Belmonte, 1990), Salzburg Festival (regularly from 1987), La Scala, Hamburg, Vienna (Staatsoper), Munich, Berlin (Deutsche Oper), Liceu. His domain was Mozart, but he also sang Almaviva, Tonio (Fille du régiment), Roméo, Paris, or Massenet's des Grieux. I liked him albeit he was a boring interpreter; but he really commanded his technique, and he produced a very beautiful tone.

Since the late 1980s, he was also involved in managing his family's wine estate Veenwouden, which was not a harmonious family business. In 2004, van der Walt ousted his father from the farm management. When he visited the farm in November 2005, a heated argument about the farm's future ended up with his father shooting dead first Deon van der Walt and then himself.

Reference 1, reference 2, reference 3
Picture sources: top, bottom

I would like to thank Thomas Silverbörg for the recording.

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