‘Akhnaten’ Star Anthony Roth Costanzo Made Visiting Fellow at Oxford for Helping Boost Egyptology

By Chris Ruel
Photo: Matthew Placek

“Akhnaten” star Anthony Roth Costanzo has caught the attention of Academia through his depiction of the opera’s titular Egyptian Pharoah. According to Bloomberg, Oxford University has made the singer a visiting fellow at its Centre for the Humanities. The fellowship will begin in November 2022.

Bloomberg reported Richard Bruce Parkinson, an Oxford professor of Egyptology and former curator at the British Museum, made the singer a fellow in recognition of the opera and Costanzo’s influence in boosting Egyptology and busting biases regarding the ancient civilization.

“As an Egyptologist, I should probably be a bit shocked at the liberties it takes. But it’s done with such imaginative conviction, it’s a brilliant approach,” Parkinson said in the article.

Costanzo—who has sung the title role in the current production since 2016—acknowledged the blending of Akhnaten with himself, stating for Bloomberg, “I think it was implicit—and this sounds kind of ridiculous—that I’ve become somewhat synonymous with Akhnaten at this point.”

In the article, the Oxford professor noted Costanzo’s likeness to that of the historical Akhnaten, saying, “If you look at photographs of Anthony during performances and compare them with one of the busts of Akhnaten in the Berlin museum, it’s a very good likeness.”

“Akhnaten” won the 2022 Grammy Award in the Best Opera Recording category and will open at the Met on May 19, 2022.