Charles Anthony Caruso (né Calogero Antonio Caruso, on July 15, 1929), better known by his stage name of Charles Anthony, is an American tenor noted for his portrayal of comprimario characters in opera. Anthony has the distinction of appearing in more performances at the Metropolitan Opera than any other performer. He celebrated his fiftieth anniversary with the company in 2004, and gave his farewell in the role of the aged Emperor Altoum in Turandot, at the Met, on January 28, 2010.
Anthony was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the child of immigrants from Sicily. He studied music at Loyola University New Orleans, where he studied under Dorothy Hulse, also the teacher of Audrey Schuh and Harry Theyard, from where he graduated in 1951. The tenor began his career as the Messenger in Il trovatore, at the New Orleans Opera Association, in 1947. At the age of twenty-two, he auditioned under his birth name for the Metropolitan Opera's Auditions of the Air. He won the auditions, but Sir Rudolf Bing convinced him to drop his surname, saying that it would invite comparisons with Enrico Caruso.
Anthony made his debut at the Metropolitan on March 6, 1954, playing the role of the Simpleton in Boris Godunov. Critics were impressed; 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." In the event, this proved true; although Anthony performed some larger roles early in his career, he made his mark as a comprimario singer.
On February 17, 1992, following Act II of a performance of Puccini's Tosca, Anthony was honored in an onstage ceremony on the occasion of his breaking the record of George Cehanovsky for most appearances by an artist at the Metropolitan Opera. As of 2009, Anthony has performed at the Met for 55 consecutive seasons, a record in the annals of the company. He has performed in over 2,900 opera performances at the Met.
Anthony is an honorary member of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes (IATSE) Local One in New York City.
Anthony has been included in many of the Met's telecasts, including Otello (conducted by James Levine, 1979), Elektra (with Birgit Nilsson, 1980), Un ballo in maschera (with Katia Ricciarelli, 1980), Il trittico (with Renata Scotto, 1981), Rigoletto (with Louis Quilico in the title role, 1981), Der Rosenkavalier (with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, 1982), Idomeneo (produced by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, 1982), Tannhäuser (with Richard Cassilly, 1982), Don Carlos (opposite Plácido Domingo and Mirella Freni, 1983), Ernani (with Luciano Pavarotti in the name part, 1983), Lohengrin (with Peter Hofmann, 1986), Dialogues des Carmélites (directed by John Dexter, 1987), Ariadne auf Naxos (with Jessye Norman, 1988), Il barbiere di Siviglia (1988), Un ballo in maschera (staged by Piero Faggioni, 1991), La fanciulla del West (1992), Stiffelio (1993), Il tabarro (with Teresa Stratas, 1994), Simon Boccanegra (1995), Otello (1995), Die Meistersinger (1995 and 2001), Fedora (1997), Samson et Dalila (1998), and, finally, Turandot (with Maria Guleghina, 2009).
Early in his career, the tenor recorded excerpts from Don Pasquale, La périchole, and Les contes d'Hoffmann for the Metropolitan Opera Record Club. In 1982, he recorded Gastone, in La traviata (which he had sung opposite Maria Callas, in 1958), with Levine leading Stratas, Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil.