Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Stephen Gould: Take Two

My brother, Helden Tenor, Stephen Gould in Bayreuth, Germany. Posted by Hello

I have previously blogged about my brother, Stephen. (Pronounces his name Stefan sound although we still use the Steven sound) He is an opera singer, yes real opera, and I must confess that while I have always liked classical music, I had never heard or been to an actual opera before visiting him in Linz, Austria. Opera's are performed in the original language in which they were written: German, Italian, French, and only rarely English. Fortunately, he told us the gist of the story before we went. This way we did not look completely lost. At the Met in NY, they apparently have gizmos that translate the words into English. Not so in Europe. Linz was an old time Austrian town, few spoke English there but they were in love with opera and my brother.

One of the little men that ushered at the opera house just kept bowing and smiling and saying in broken English, "He is wonderful", all evening, every time he passed where we were sitting. Fortunately, in Beethoven's "Fidelio", Stephen's character does not die but in "Rake's Progress" as the main character he goes mad and dies in the end. Death in opera is a bit campy...it drags on forever. You sit there amazed that someone obviously in the throws of death can sing for ten minutes with their last breath. But I am such a sap, when he dies on stage, I cry. I have no idea what he sang in his death song, and I know that in a few minutes he will arise and take his bows to thunderous applause and tossed roses, but I cry anyway....my baby brother has died on stage. Nyssa sits there, looks at me and says "What is the matter with you?"

He is a character, a typical type A++++++ personality, bit of a hypochondriac in that he thinks he has a terminal illness with any symptom but maybe that comes honestly from dying on stage over and over. He is our family comic. Mealtime is not to be believed when he is home, especially now in combination with two older parents both of whom have hearing difficulties but only one of whom will admit it. Everyone thinks he lives a glamorous lifestyle traveling to Florence, Israel, Spain, Portugal, Paris, Dresden, Norway, Sicily, Budapest, Germany, and all just this year. But as you can see by this excerpt from his most recent e-mail it can get to you.
Greetings from Paris. I am literally "in the shadow" of the Eiffel Tower, but have not had time to do much sight seeing. Rehearsals are going well, and tomorrow I change hotels, and go out to St. Denis, where we will be performing in the famous 13th century cathedral. Tomorrow is all day rehearsal, and then two performances on Thursday and Friday. Saturday I fly home to Vienna for another concert on Monday, and then Tuesday in Budapest. I wake up every morning (which I guess is a good thing), and it takes me 10 minutes before I know where I am. Unfortunately it takes another 10 minutes before I know WHO I am.
His momma is proud, his niece is proud and she is the apple of his eye, and ok I am proud too...but I will still call him "Stephen" not "Stefan". If you should happen to love opera and want to know more about him he has his own web site. There he has short excerpts of some of his performances. This summer he will be at the Wagner festival in Bayreuth for the second year doing "Tannhauser".

One of his recordings with the Atlanta Symphony

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