Stephen Gould was once again to sing three mammoth roles at the Bayreuth Festival: Siegfried, Tristan and Tannhäuser. These aren’t walks. These are marathons in the world of opera in and of themselves. But health slowed him down this year, and he canceled. Now Gould is ending his career completely. The American had to say goodbye to the stage for health reasons, his management said.

Gould, born in 1962, is one of the most important heroic tenors of the past decades. In May 2015 he was awarded the title “Austrian Chamber Singer” at the Vienna State Opera.

Gould has close ties to the Bayreuth Festival. He made his debut here 19 years ago as Tannhäuser. At that time, Wolfgang Wagner (1919-2010) was still in charge of the world-famous festival. Gould, who quickly became the crowd favorite at the Green Hill, also frequently sang the title role in “Tristan und Isolde”, which is considered particularly challenging. He was heard as Tristan in Bayreuth for the first time in 2015, it was the production of festival director Katharina Wagner, it was conducted by Christian Thielemann.

In 2022 Gould told the broadcaster BR Klassik: “I’m not a sprinter. More of a long-distance runner. It’s a pity that in our world with Tik-Tok everything has to happen in the shortest possible time. Wagner is not an opera, it is not entertainment. It is one meditation, a mantra.”

Gould is already making new plans

He also shone last year at the first open-air festival in Bayreuth and received great cheering not only for excerpts from Wagner’s work, but also for the Lehár song “Your is my whole heart”. The festival without Gould, the Bayreuth “Iron Man” – for many Wagnerians this has become unthinkable in recent years.

But Gould is already making new plans, according to his management: “First of all, I will concentrate fully on my health and then fulfill my second dream: I want to teach young talented singers in master classes, pass on my experience to them and they would like to play a piece accompany her on her way to her singing career.”

He continued: “I look back with gratitude on my thirty-year career and the encounter and collaboration with many outstanding artistic personalities in important opera productions and concert projects around the world, and saying goodbye is extremely difficult for me.”

In addition to Bayreuth and Vienna, Gould was often heard in Tokyo and Berlin, for example. Before he was able to establish himself in the German repertoire, he sang in numerous performances of the musical “The Phantom of the Opera”.