Entertainment & Arts

Metropolitan Opera singer Charles Anthony dies

Charles Anthony
Image caption Anthony said "abject terror" kept him focused

Character singer Charles Anthony, who performed a record 2,928 times at New York's Metropolitan Opera - in a career spanning 56 years - has died aged 82.

The tenor, who performed 159 times as the innkeeper in Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, died at his home in Tampa, Florida, from kidney failure.

He starred with the cream of opera talent, including the Met debuts of Jose Carreras and Joan Sutherland.

He last appeared, as Emperor Altoum in Puccini's Turandot, in January 2010.

Paying tribute to the singer in his 50th year of performing for the opera, in 2004, then general manager Joseph Volpe said: "It's no exaggeration to say that Charlie Anthony is the soul of the Metropolitan Opera."

Asked about his longevity by Time magazine at the time, Anthony said "abject terror" had helped him to keep focused.

"A singer onstage in the moments before he opens his mouth is the loneliest person in the world," he said.

"You never know what's going to come out."

He began his career at the old Met building on Broadway before moving with the opera to its current home at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 1966.

Following his debut at the Met as the Simpleton in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, on 6 March 1954, the New York Times wrote: "Mr Anthony had better be careful.

"If he does other bit parts so vividly, he'll be stamped as a character singer for life."

Which was how Anthony became best known.

He did make a few appearances in leading roles in the 1950s and 1960s, including one as Rodolfo in Puccini's La Boheme in 1959.

He broke the Met record on 17 February 1992 singing the role of courtier Borsa in Verdi's Rigoletto, beating the previous record of baritone George Cehanovsky who sang there between 1926-1966.

Anthony's other most frequent roles include henchman Ruiz in Verdi's Il Trovatore, which he played 141 times, and Gastone, in Verdi's La Traviata, which he played 136 times.

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