Cher Public

Charles Anthony 1929-2012

The comprimario tenor, veteran of 2,928 performances at the Met, died earlier today. He was 82.  (Photo: Metropolitan Opera Archives)

  • Will

    He was Fiorello in my very first live MET opera, Barbiere di Siviglia — I was 11. I saw him innumerable times after that. The MET really doesn’t operate much like that today, there’s no “house ensemble” any more, which I think is a shame.

    • armerjacquino

      Fiorello? Really? Almaviva maybe, or the Sergeant- but isn’t Fiorello a bass role?

      • That is not so unheard of. Frasquita and Mercedes exchange lines all the time. Arbace in Idomeneo is cast with baritones all the time and Fiorello is such a small role that it can be sung by either a character tenor, baritone or bass without much problem.

        Hasn’t the Sacristan in Tosca been cast with a character tenor as well?

        • armerjacquino

          Be that as it may, according to the Met archive Anthony never sang Fiorello.

  • Ed

    The legacy of Charles Anthony is long and great. His Met debut was before that of such icons of Tebaldi and Callas, to name but two of the most famous singers he sang with. Anthony sang with legends countless times per week. It would be impossible to name them all, but Tebaldi, Calls, Milanov are three such legends. Anthony was in the very first Nilsson/Corelli Turandot, as well as more legendary performances than one could count. His contributions were always of the highest level. In my early opera going days- the late 50’s- he seemed to be in virtually every performance I saw. Great opera companies such as the Met need legendary singers of course. But singers such as Charles Anthony were just important, if not more so. They sing or cover almost ever performance of ever week sometimes, for the entire length of the season. May he rest in peace. He was one of the really “nice guys” at the Met, and all the singers loved him.

  • All-Knowing Seashell

    A wonderful artist, and everyone who knew him would agree that he was as fine a man and colleague as any of us had the privilege to encounter in our lives.

  • eric

    Obituary isn’t posted yet, but here’s a profile on him from NY Times about two years ago.

    • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

      RIP Mr. Anthony.

      And eric, thank you -- your link is useful in more ways than one. The Charles Anthony article contains a link to another story covering Maestro Levine’s 40th anniversary at the Met last May. It includes a gem: Parterre fave Elaine Stritch admits to not knowing who fellow Parterre fave James Levine is, when he comes to see her backstage at a run of Elaine Stritch At Liberty. So she asks him for a business card.

      You get to do that kind of thing when you’re a nobody -- or a Great Big Somebody.

  • tatiana

    Yes, he was a very nice man indeed. . . And funny! Years ago, he and Anthony Laciura (they both hailed from New Orleans) were interviewed during a Saturday Met broadcast, trading reminiscences and stories. It was one of the best and funniest intermissions I ever heard.
    May he rest in peace. As someone else remarked, it’s too bad he couldn’t have enjoyed a longer retirement.

  • danpatter

    Rest in peace, Mr. Anthony. Artists such as Anthony, Cehanovsky, and Thelma Votipka (who leads the ladies in Met performances) bring so much to the experience of opera. I’m grateful for them.

  • operaddict

    A loving and generous colleague was Charlie Anthony. He certainly made me welcome when I sang my first rehearsal at the Met in 2008. He was covering the small role of Isepo…I was covering Barnaba in La Gioconda. He called me over after the first scene and told me…”Not since MacNeil have I heard a voice like yours.” And this from a man who sang with and heard them all, I was simply blown away by such generosity…deserved or not. God rest your soul, Charles.

  • sterlingkay

    A wonderful, generous colleague and a kind, warm human being who never seemed to have a bad day. I will miss him dearly as will anyone who was lucky enough to work with him. Rest in peace, dear friend.

  • papopera

    Sorry to hear that, he seems to have been singing at the Met since the days of Caruso.

  • Camille

    When Mr. Anthony was announced as one of the characters in an opera, I felt an inward tug of relief, for we were always in the hands of a professional and an artist. One knew that, if all else went awry, he would certainly deliver.

    Only this past Friday night I was listening to that wonderful Tosca from April 1994, with Guleghina, Pavarotti, and Morris, with Mr. Anthony who then had about forty years with the company, doing an equally wonderful job as Spoletta.

    One thing for sure; there won’t be another one quite like him. RIP.

  • zinka

    Charlie was a CARUSo in so many ways..Rest in Peace….

  • Tamino

    I am correct that when Charles Anthony retired, there were was no one left on the active roster who had sung at the old house?

    I can’t think of anyone else. Plishka debuted in the first season at the new house.

    Even among conductors, the only name I can think of is Maazel, and his is an unusual case, with a 45 year gap.

    • Lalala

      Did Rosalind Elias sing in the old house? Granted, she’s not on the Met roster anymore but is still active (Follies) on the stage—although I don’t know how active she will be in the future. There are still a few things she could pull off, I’m sure, if she was hired again at The Met or elsewhere.

      • Tamino

        Oh, I didn’t think of Elias. Yes, she sure did sing at the old house (debut in 1954), although she’s been gone from the MET since 1996, as you say. It would be nice to see her back for one or two more roles!

        • Baritenor

          If I recall correctly, Elias retired from the stage about five years ago after a few runs as the Baroness in Vanessa, but came out of retirement to do Follies. So I’d say the chance of her returning to the Met is fairly slim.

          • Camille

            Saw her in L.A. about in 2006, sing the Old Baroness. Thought that would be it but if anything, she had to do more on stage as “Old Heidi”, singing wise and movement wise. My friend complained to me that “she sounds like an old lady”. Duh. What do you expect? She’s 83, I think.

            What about the Duchess of Krankenthorp? Don’t know about her comedic chops, though.
            I applaud and salute her for having the gumption to go on, as one ‘old lady’ to another--go girl!

          • iltenoredigrazia

            Does Zeffirelli count? A couple of his productions are still active.

      • Nerva Nelli

        May I point out that Roz Elias IS on the Met roster?

        She’s not listed for any rep, but I figured she might be covering Kiri in FILLE.

        All kinds of other people are listed there who have no set assignments either. Take a look.

    • iltenoredigrazia

      I would check Joan Dornemann who’s still listed as an assistant conductor at the Met. She goes back a very long time, possibly even back to the old Met.

      Incidentally, I go back to the old Met myself. :)

      • Tamino

        According to this ancient article in People Magazine (could you imagine People doing a story about opera prompters now?) Dornmann joined the MET in 1974, so no she didn’t work in the old house.

        I really do think Charles Anthony was the last singer from the old house, unless someone like Elias returns for a cameo. What amazing things and people he must have seen.

        • iltenoredigrazia

          Never underestimate Regina Resnik coming back. Or Sherrill Milnes. Or Lucine Amara. Or Roberta Peters. :)

          • iltenoredigrazia

            Or Montserrat Caballe.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            Caballe could yet surface as the Duchess von Krakenthorp. Didn’t she debut in the old house? Hardly a regular in recent years, I’ll grant you, but still performing!

          • jimupde

            Or Licia Albanese???

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            Did Olivero have much of a Met career? You never know when she might receive another visitation…

          • marshiemarkII

            But Carisssssimo Cocky, even though Olivero is 902 years old or thereabouts :-), doesn’t mean she sang in the old house. Her Met debut was actually AFTER MarshieMII (spring chicken by comparison) had already been there for the first time to see Goterdammerung in 1975. She sang Tosca in what 75, 76, or 77? and she had the honor of sharing that Tosca run with Galina Pavlovna herself if I am not mistaken. So that was most definitely in the new house.

          • Nerva Nelli

            Grace Bumbry (Met debut as Eboli, 1965) is doing the CANDIDE Old Lady in Berlin next month; and isn’t she slated for a Vienna Old Countess too?

          • Tamino

            I’d love to see any these people back, if only for the nostalgia factor.

            >>are you not ignoring a number of comprimarii, all of whom considering themselves both “singer” and “active.”

            I was thinking of the comprimario roster, but glancing through the archives I didn’t see any who debuted pre-Lincoln center, and who still sing at the MET. Maybe someone else can think of someone I forgot.

          • Camille

            La Bumbarina will NEVER cave in.

            Next stop: Die alte Burja in Jenufa. Kostelnicka better watch her back!

            GO GURRRRRL!!!

  • Bianca Castafiore

    The NYT was very quick with his obituary; but to date, nothing on Rita Gorr…