© Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Siegfried 2019


In Memoriam Stephen Gould
From Rainer Fineske, president of RWVI:

On September 19, 2023, Stephen Gould died of a rapidly progressing cancer diagnosis that inevitably led to death within a few months.

With Stephen Gould, Bayreuth and the international Wagner world have lost the most important and prominent tenor of our times, who for over 20 years had not only made a world career, but also a Bayreuth career that is likely to be unparalleled in the world. After he has left us we have become much poorer and also feel very sad.

It felt like Stephen Gould was always there, not only when there was a need on the Green Hill. Last year he sang three most challenging heroic tenor roles at the Bayreuth „heat conditions“,  in Tannhäuser in Tobias Kratzer's production, in Tristan und Isolde, staged by Roland Schwab with huge success and Siegfried in Valentin Schwarz's interpretation.

He was one of the closest friends of Festival Director Katharina Wagner and we were all alarmed when the Festival had to announce on July 1st that Stephen Gould had to cancel this year's Festival for health reasons.

Of course, rumors quickly circulated that the tenor had problems with his lungs or his condition, but far from it, it was Cholangio's carcinoma, a fatal disease that, similar to pancreatic cancer, has a short life expectancy of up to a maximum of ten months.

 For Stephen Gould, the Bayreuth Festival, with its almost 100 performances, was a very special place of work and inspiration, but also of relaxation and enchantment at the same time. A feeling shared by so many of us who are also associated with Bayreuth and the Festival, in some cases even for decades.

 All of us who knew Stephen Gold, and many of us did personally, will keep a wonderful memory of him, not only as a person but as one of the most reliable heroic tenors of the last 20 years. We are grateful to him for so many role interpretations with his always bright and impeccable voice. It is wonderful that he has left so many recordings, especially with the repertoire of Richard Wagner, also under the baton of famous conductors such as Christian Thielemann, for our posterity as a musical-vocal documentation.

Rainer Fineske

Photo Stephen Gould
© Johannes Ifkovits