Charles Anthony: Tenor who set a record at the Met

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The Independent Online

The character singer Charles Anthony, who set the record for most appearances at the Metropolitan Opera – 2,928 – during a career that spanned from 1954 to 2010, died on 15 February at the age of 82.

Beginning his career at the old Met on Broadway and moving uptown with the company to its new home at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 1966, the tenor was a "comprimario", or supporting singer. He shared the stage with the greatest classical artists of several eras, performing in the Met debuts of Marian Anderson, Birgit Nilsson, Jon Vickers, Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli, Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Jose Carreras. "It's no exaggeration to say that Charlie Anthony is the soul of the Metropolitan Opera," Joseph Volpe, then the Met's general manager, said in 2004.

Anthony made his Met debut as the Simpleton in Mussorsky's Boris Godunov in 1954. "Probably few who saw the performance will forget him," the New York Times wrote. "Anthony had better be careful. If he does other bit parts so vividly, he'll be stamped as a character singer for life." And so he was.

In February 1992, singing the role of Borsa the courtier in Verdi's Rigoletto, Anthony made his 2,396th appearance, breaking the record set by the baritone George Cehanovsky from 1926-66. The conductor James Levine is now second on the list with 2,442.