Anthony Roth Costanzo Recognized As A Changemaker By 4 Major Institutions As AKHNATEN Re-opens At The Met Tonight

Costanzo returns to the Metropolitan Opera tonight to star in his career-defining title role of AKHNATEN.

By: May. 19, 2022
Anthony Roth Costanzo Recognized As A Changemaker By 4 Major Institutions As AKHNATEN Re-opens At The Met Tonight

Anthony Roth Costanzo is an opera superstar who brings his otherworldly talent to the title role of AKHNATEN at the Met Opera (which opens tonight and runs through June 10). But along with his celebrated gifts as a countertenor and actor, Anthony is being increasingly recognized by major institutions at home and abroad as a preternaturally gifted producer, arts innovator, community builder, civic leader, and negotiator of change.

Anthony is on a nonstop mission to find new pathways for classical music and opera to engage, integrating creative solutions and new approaches along the way. His efforts to bring opera into the mainstream-and to populations that have never experienced it before-are being honored and funded in significant ways.

Today, Anthony receives an Honorary Doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music. He received his Masters Degree from MSM in 2008, is on the Board of Trustees, and has led voice master classes at the school.

James Gandre, President of Manhattan School of Music, says:
"Anthony is one of those remarkable and very rare individuals who combines incredible talent with extraordinary intelligence, savvy, and heart. From the opera stages of the world to cabaret at St. Ann's Warehouse to arts entrepreneur and impresario, Anthony is truly a Renaissance artist and citizen. It's been my privilege to know him for nearly a decade since my return to MSM as president and it was an honor when he agreed to serve his graduate alma mater and become a member of our Board of Trustees. On May 19, I look forward to awarding him the highest honor any higher education institution can grant someone - the Honorary Doctorate."

The New-York Historical Society today announced that it will present the 2022 History Makers Award to Anthony Roth Costanzo for his dedication to improving the lives of all through activism and leadership in culture and the arts, his work as a community organizer, and his achievements in the performing arts. Past recipients include Dr. Anthony Fauci, Ken Burns and Ric Burns, Robert Caro, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Wynton Marsalis, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and many others. Anthony receives the award at the gala on October 6, 2022.

Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang, chair of the N-YHS Board of Trustees, says:
"With his musical virtuosity-a clarion voice described by The Wall Street Journal as 'otherworldly'-and fearless artistry, Anthony has electrified a new generation of opera goers with defining roles in classical repertoire and boundary-breaking contemporary American masterpieces, including as Akhnaten in Philip Glass' eponymous work. But Anthony is much more than a consummate artist; he ably deploys his boundless creative energy towards civic initiatives, most recently as the creator and executive producer of the New York Philharmonic Bandwagon that brought diverse concerts to all five boroughs during the COVID pandemic. At 40, Anthony has already made a mark as a civic leader in New York, and it is a privilege to recognize his many achievements with our History Makers Award."

The Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant of $150,000 to Anthony with a new model of funding for his initiative THE CREATIVE ARC. With this funding, Anthony can further expand his work as a creative producer with resources to realize projects through production, support, and collaboration. He is able to cultivate partnerships with a team of colleagues, artists, and students, to assemble projects which represent a broad spectrum of creative visions, and amplify the art being made through engagement and access. His projects also provide mentorship opportunities for the team he has assembled as they work both between and outside of institutions. The Creative ARC seeks to forge new ways for artists to shape the landscape and have agency in their fields.

Emil Kang, Program Director of Arts and Culture at the Mellon Foundation, says:.
"As a classically trained artist, Anthony has used his deeply personal vision and voice to build a contemporary performance practice that crosses disciplines and brings art beyond the concert hall and into community. Anthony is an important leader in this field, and we are thrilled to support both his ongoing creative endeavors and the sharing of his methodology to galvanize a new generation of artists working in this manner."

Anthony adds: "My practice is built upon my foundation as a singer and performer-but it only truly takes flight in the ways I can build out around that core, finding opportunities for engagement and innovative collaborations that allow for a deeper resonance and broader reach. I am grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their belief in my process, and for their generous support, which will allow me to forge a team that works with me to accomplish my goals, and uphold the voices and visions of fellow artists. Together, we can codify ways of operating autonomously, but in dialogue with a system and organizations that hold many resources and opportunities in the cultural landscape."

Bloomberg marvels in an article this week at how Anthony takes the role of Akhnaten (which he has been playing since 2016) so seriously that it has now been academically recognized. England's Oxford University has offered Anthony an Egyptology Fellowship, focussing on the history of Akhnaten and Ancient Egypt. The Fellowship will begin in November 2022. More info is here:

Richard Bruce Parkinson, the distinguished Professor of Egyptology at the University of Oxford, told Bloomberg that Anthony was given the fellowship in part because Akhnaten and Anthony's efforts to promote it are helping to change long-held historical biases. "[Ancient] Egyptian culture is beginning to escape from the stereotypes that have surrounded it for so long," Parkinson said. "It's about time. Think of The Mummy. Think of Indiana Jones. They're really, really offensive." Akhnaten, in contrast, positions the pharaoh "as a modernist figure who should be treated seriously as a thinker and human being."

Parkinson tells Bloomberg: "What I find very inspirational is the idea that what an academic is doing with historic data is the same as what Anthony is doing." By bringing attention to this role, "it's different forms of re-creating the ancient experience, but they're the same vision of giving a bit of life back to the past."

2022 GRAMMY Award winner Anthony Roth Costanzo has appeared in opera, concert, recital, film, and on Broadway. This month, he returns to the Metropolitan Opera in his acclaimed performance of the title role in Philip Glass's Akhnaten. This season, he is also the Artist-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic, performing and curating programming to reflect on questions of identity. This summer, the BBC Proms presents his multi-disciplinary performance installation Glass Handel, with choreography by Justin Peck, live painting by George Condo, and costumes by Raf Simons. Costanzo has performed and produced around the world at venues including Carnegie Hall, Versailles, Madison Square Garden, Philadelphia Opera, The Berlin Philharmonic, The Kennedy Center, The London Symphony Orchestra, Kabuki-Za Tokyo, San Francisco Opera, The Guggenheim, Chicago Lyric Opera, The Park Avenue Armory, Teatro Real Madrid, and many others. His debut album, ARC, a collection of arias by Handel and Glass with Les Violons du Roy, was nominated for a Grammy. His live show and second album Only an Octave Apart with cabaret legend Justin Vivian Bond received numerous "Best of 2021" accolades, ranging from TIME Magazine to The New York Times and The Washington Post. Costanzo was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his performance in a Merchant Ivory film and graduated with honors from Princeton University, where he has returned to teach, and Manhattan School of Music, where he is on the board of trustees.