Stephen Grady Gould



by Alice Lechner
October 9, 2023
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As a prolific heldentenor, Stephen Gould was a frequent artist on the Bayreuth Festival stage, appearing in almost 100 performances over a period of 18 years.

Stephen Grady Gould was born on January 24th, 1962 in Roanoke, Virginia. He is the son of Loren and Annie Gould. He studied at the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with John Moriarty and graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in 1984, trained as a baritone.

I’d always loved classical music and jazz but never considered singing as a career and I was already in university before I switched but I did a lot of musical theatre just to make ends meet. Because of the nature of my voice, I tried to be a dramatic Rossini tenor and that worked for – I don’t know – about 14 months (laughs), and then the voice started having a lot of problems because it wasn’t the real voice for me. I was a student at the Lyric Opera of Chicago Centre for American Artists at the time and what they wanted me to do in that repertoire was just too high and I didn’t have the technique for it and I wanted to go back to baritone. Unfortunately, the opera world didn’t need another lyric baritone of my physical and vocal size so I auditioned as a lark for The Phantom of the Opera and I ended up doing that for seven years. (Stephen Gould in an interview with Jim Pritchard)

Gould first performed in musicals, such as 3.000 times in Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. In 1989, he was a stand-in for a sick Chris Merritt in Los Angeles Opera’s Tancredi, singing opposite Marilyn Horne. However, he quickly turned away from lyric roles and went on to sing the most demanding heroic parts in the repertoire.

He made his debut as a Helendtenor as Florestan in Fidelio at the Landestheater Linz. In 2004, he debuted at the Bayreuth Festival as Wagner’s Tannhäuser. 2 years later, he performed the role of Siegfried in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.

The Associated Press called him “a naturally engaging performer, unusually athletic and youthful as befits the teenage hero” during his performance of the third Der Ring des Nibelungen.

“Tannhäuser’s character is more appropriate to me than Siegfried”, said Gould to Forum Opéra in December 2007. 

On the page, Siegfried doesn’t look that daunting – just long – but when I did it I realised how impossible it is to have an absolute success as Siegfried. It requires three different tenor voices, incredible stamina, and no matter how well you do it you will have two-thirds of the audience not liking you – one-third want only baritonal heft, others only want a steely sound coming out, whilst the others want an extraordinarily youthful Windgassen sound. (Stephen Gould in an interview by Jim Pritchard)

In 2015 he first performed the role of Tristan in Tristan und Isolde, directed by Katharina Wagner and conducted by Christian Thielemann. In 2018, he appeared as Siegmund in Die Walküre and as Parsifal in 2021 in a concert performance. Gould appeared at the Bayreuth Festival around 100 times. He earned the nickname “marathon singer” in 2022 after he sang Tannhäuser, Siegfried and Tristan.

I did not wish anything to cloud this years achievements, and I am grateful to Bayreuth, for teaching me all that I could have hoped to know about the performance of this great musicians works. With many found memories… Stephen Gould

Gould made his house debut at Wiener Staatsoper in 2004, with Korngold’s Die tote Stadt. In 2009 he sang in several opera houses, including the Royal Opera House (Die tote Stadt), Grand Théâtre de Genève (Peter Grimes), Las Palmas (Tannhäuser), Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma (Tannhäuser) and the New National Theatre Tokyo (Otello).

He was also no stranger to the concert stage, with works including Beethoven’s Ninth as well as the Missa Solemnis, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and Das Lied von der Erde, and Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder.

On August 25th, 2023, Gould announced his retirement from singing “due to health reasons”; he had to cancel three major roles at the Bayreuth Festival.

I was diagnosed with bile duct cancer with complications. It is Cholangio-Carcinoma, a fatal disease with an outlook of several months to 10 months. There is no cure.

Stephen Gould died on September 19th, 2023, at the age of 61. 


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Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


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