Tenor Stephen Gould dead at 61

Stephen Gould, a tenor who appeared in many of the world’s elite opera houses, died Tuesday, two weeks after he announced he had incurable bile duct cancer. He was 61.

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The singer’s agent, Stephanie Ammann, confirmed his death, adding that he passed away in Virginia, according to The Associated Press. No other details were immediately available, according to the news organization.

The Bayreuth Festival. which annually stages performances of 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner, first announced the tenor’s death, Opera Wire reported.

“It is with deepest sadness and bewilderment that we have to announce the death of our friend and colleague, Stephen Gould,” festival officials said. “With him, the Bayreuth Festival and the entire opera world lose an outstanding singer, performer, educator, friend, and esteemed colleague.

“He first appeared at the Bayreuth Festival in 2004 and sang nearly 100 performances until 2022. Among his glittering roles at Bayreuth were the title roles in Tristan und Isolde, Tannhäuser and Siegfried in the Ring des Nibelungen. Stephen Gould has rightly been described as a ‘long-distance runner.’”

Gould withdrew from the Bayreuth Festival, where he was scheduled to perform the title roles in “Tannhäuser” and “Tristan und Isolde” and Siegfried in “Götterdämmerung,” according to the AP.

Gould said he announced his bile duct cancer after the festival because he “did not wish anything to cloud this year’s achievements.”

Gould debuted in Bayreuth in 2006 in Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, according to the AP.

He was born in Virginia in 1962 and graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, Opera Wire reported. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1964.

Gould appeared in 3,000 performances of “The Phantom of the Opera,” and in 1989 he was a stand-in in the Los Angeles Opera’s “Tancredi,” according to Opera Wire.

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