American tenor Charles Anthony has died aged 82.
The singer, who made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1954, performed a record 2,928 times over 56 seasons before his retirement in 2010 – the most performances of any solo artist in the Met’s history. He is comfortably ahead of Russian baritone George Cehanovsky, who appeared 2,394 times.
He is best known for his portrayal of supporting characters. His huge range of roles enabled him to step in to replace understudies if they became ill.
Anthony was born in New Orleans to a family of Sicilian immigrants, and had the same surname as the great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, who died in 1921. But on joining the Met aged 22, he dropped his surname to become Charles Anthony, on the recommendation of general manager Rudolf Bing who feared audiences might think he was related to Caruso and the young tenor would be burdened with expectations.
Anthony's last role at the Met was as Emperor Altoum in Puccini's Turandot in January 2010. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor, his son and daughter, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.