Johan F. Kirsten was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He attended the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School and completed his musical degree (B.mus Honors) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
In Europe he furthered his singing education at the Viennese Conservatory under the direction of Prof. David Lutz in Lied and Oratorio, the Opera School with Kammersänger Waldemar Kmentt and received a Richard Wagner Society Scholarship.
Since 1997 his countryman Kammersänger Prof. Wicus Slabbert has taken the bass-baritone under his personal guidance.
|His performing career has had various stops throughout Europe: Vienna
(Wiener Kammeroper, Theater Akzent, Ronacher, Wiener Festwochen,
Musikfestival „Mozart in Schönbrunn“, Wiener
Taschenoper), Lower and Upper Austria (Stadttheater St. Pölten und Baden, Donaufestwochen, Opernfestival Steyr), Madrid (Festival de Ottone) and Barcelona (Festival d’Opera Butxaca), Germany (Thüringen, Wartburg), as well as the Greek National Opera in Athens.
After a successful guest appearance as a “first class Kaspar” (Rhein-Neckar) in Weber’s Freischütz in 2006/07 at the Mainfranken Theater Würzburg Johan F. Kirsten became a full-time member of the ensemble.
He was acclaimed as an “enthusiastically celebrated” Figaro (Fränkischer Tag) and a “Don Alfonso as sovereign caricature” (Opernnetz) in the Mozart operas Le Nozze dí Figaro and Cosí fan tutte, as well as an “ideal cast for the coldblooded police chief Scarpia” (Main-Echo) in Puccini’s Tosca.
Furthermore, as Fra Melitone in Verdi’s La forza del destino, he “sang and acted himself into the hearts of the audience” (Fränkischer Tag), was an “overwhelming Klingsor” (Opernfreund) in Wagner’s Parsifal and in a “Paraderolle” (Leporello) as Don Magnifico “with a voluminous, flexible bass and astonishing comedian stage presence” (Südwest Presse) in Rossini’s Cenerentola.
In the current season Johan F. Kirsten “gave a powerful performance” (Der Neue Merker) as Don Pedro in L’Africaine by Meyerbeer, sang King Marke in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde with "vocal majesty” (Online Musik Magazin) and an “exquisite Baculus” (Leporello) in Lortzing’s Wildschütz – with “a voice worth more than 5000 Taler” (director Prof. Hermann Schneider).
Next season he will appear as prison governor Frank in Strauß's Fledermaus, as Doctor in Wozzeck and as obstreperous servant Leporello in Don Giovanni.