Stephen Gould, the world-renowned tenor, passed away on September 19 in Chesapeake, Virginia. After withdrawing from scheduled appearances at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany over the summer, Gould announced that he had been diagnosed with incurable bile duct cancer. He was 61.
A leading interpreter of Wagner, Stephen Gould performed regularly at Bayreuth, where he was hailed as the “Wagner Marathon Man.” Following a musical theater stint which included a Broadway touring production of The Phantom of the Opera, Gould developed as a heldentenor. This rare operatic tenor voice type, celebrated for its clarity and endurance, is associated with heroic Wagnerian roles.
Gould’s extraordinary vocal gifts are on display in these two recordings:
Wagner: Die Walküre, “Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond”
In the opera’s first act, Siegmund promises to free Sieglinde from a forced marriage to Hunding. Soon, Siegmund and Sieglinde realize that they are siblings. As moonlight floods the scene, Siegmund embraces love and the blossoming of springtime.
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde, “O König, das kann ich dir nicht sagen”
In this excerpt from the second act, Tristan bids farewell to Isolde, and prepares for death. Isolde promises to follow into the realm of the night. In the final moments, Tristan throws his sword aside, and allows himself to be stabbed by Melot.
- Stephen Gould’s discography
Featured Image: photograph by Timm Schamberger