The Metropolitan Opera performance database has 2,928 entries for tenor Charles Anthony, who has died at the age of 82.
He made his début with the company in Boris Godunov, on March 6, 1954. His last performance was on Jan. 28, 2010, in Turandot. Over this remarkable span, he sang alongside all of the great names to have graced the Met’s stage, from Maria Callas to Luciano Pavarotti, to Placido Domingo (and Canadian Louis Quilico). He held Leontyne Price’s hand as she made her first entrance on the Met’s stage, 50 years ago.
His voice was heard on dozens of radio broadcasts, and seen on several Met telecasts.
Anthony, whose birth surname was Caruso, was never the star, but a comprimario — one of the reliable, hardworking singers indispensable to any operatic production. Anyone who could sing nearly 3,000 shows must have been more indispensable than most.
The New Orleans native liked to tell the story of how he accidentally became a singer in high school when he heard a call for singers and supernumeraries to be in the Soldier’s Chorus, giving him a ticket out of Math, which he hated. He loved the experience so much, he joined the chorus at the New Orleans Opera Association.
The New York Times’ James Barron wrote a nice interview when Anthony retired from the Met in 2010. You can read it here.
Anthony also gave master classes, like this one at Loyola University last fall (the choice of aria is unintentional):