World's oldest tenor gives up

Hugues Cuénod, who sang professionally for 66 years, had died in Switzerland, aged 108. He was part of the original 1951 cast of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and was a perennial at Glyndebourne for many years. He will probably remain unbeaten as the oldest tenor ever to make a Metropolitan Opera debut, appearing there as the Emperor in Puccini’s Turandot at 84.

I once took a long ride with him on the London Underground in which he tried, for no obvious reason that I can recall, to persuade me of his robust heterosexuality (perhaps he thought 1980s London more repressive that it really was). It came as no great surprise to learn, four years ago, that he had entered a civil partnership with his long-term companion, Alfred Augustin.

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  • I am very sorry to learn of Cuenod’s passing, since he was an artist I always admired, but I am also glad he was with us for so long. A great contributor to the music of our time, I agree. I remember the happy news from a few years ago of the civil partnership with his companion; thank goodness Cuenod lived long enough to see that improvement in gay rights!

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