Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Charles Anthony Died

I was so sorry to hear earlier today of the death of Metropolitan Opera tenor Charles Anthony, at age 82. He holds the record at the Met: 2928 performances. He made his debut in 1954 and gave his last performance on January 28, 2010. His final role was the 10,000 year old Emperor Altoum in Turandot

He was born in New Orleans as Charles Anthony Caruso. Advisedly, he shortened his name before embarking on an opera career.

Charles Anthony sang in Maria Callas's Met debut in 1956 (Norma) He held Leontyne Price's hand the night she made her double debut with Franco Corelli in Il trovatore, and he sang often with "My dear Luciano". He sang often with every great singer of the past sixty years, and he was no slouch himself.

Years ago at the Texaco Opera Quiz (late lamented) we were played a recording of a fresh voiced young tenor. He was singing Ernesto's Serenade from Don Pasquale. The voice was beautiful and the style impeccable. Who was this young find? It was Charles Anthony, on a recording made for the Met in the late 1950s.

It must have been his choice to concentrate on the character roles that bought him fame, fortune and longevity. He was a superb technician and at 80 his singing needed no apology. It was said that James Levine "would not hear" of Charles Anthony retiring from the Met. Time told, but we are all the richer.

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