Stephen Gould at Bayreuth
So far, a rare musicality has marked his Tannhauser today. His is not the brazen sound we sometimes associate with past interpreters, but there is a rare capacity to sustain the longest phrases with finish and conviction, and the focus and resiliency in the tone are exceptional. A born musician, he seems in surprising control of this role's rigorous demands, and only a brief moment of effortfulness at the end of Act I really brought him up short. Quite a find. Above all, he can combine much sweetness of tone with genuine authority and keen intelligence. How very rare! Wagner himself considered the "Zum Heil" sequence in Act II as the make-or-break moment for the role, and Gould came through here with panache and security.
I urge those not yet tuned in to check out the last act with its Rome narration (the last act will be starting in less than an hour). A sound this steady and sympathetic has not been heard in this music for a long time. (The Bartok Radio stream has been very steady all day and can be accessed at www.operacast.com/bayreuth04.htm .)