Charles Anthony Dies

Charles Anthony on a rare night off(Photo: Melancon)
Charles Anthony on a rare night off(Photo: Melancon)

I was sorry to hear earlier today of the death of tenor Charles Anthony at age 82.

Born Charles Anthony Caruso in New Orleans, he-advisedly-shortened his name as he embarked on a career in opera.

He made his debut at the Met in 1954, and gave his last performance there on January 28, 2010-as the 10,000 year old Emperor Altoum in Puccini’s Turandot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br-qZibt9kU

2,928 performances over fifty-six years, the company record. Anthony was on stage for Maria Callas’s 1956 debut, in Norma, and he “held Leontyne Price’s hand” the night in 1961 when she joined the Met as Leonora in Il trovatore. He often partnered with Pavarotti (“my dear Luciano”). He often partnered with every great singer of the past fifty years. This writer can attest Charles Anthony was respected and deeply loved by his colleagues.

His death only two years post retirement is sad-and even at an advanced age it was said that James Levine “wouldn’t hear” of Charlie retiring his character roles.

Many years ago on a Texaco Opera Quiz show, we were played a recording of a lovely lyric tenor voice, singing a Donizetti aria. Everyone shut up to listen. Who is this wonderful find? It was Charles Anthony singing  a leading role (he sang  several) before deciding that longevity and security came from the many character parts he did fearlessly.

A gentleman, an artist, and a class act.

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