Six weeks before the premiere of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten at the English National Opera in London, its star, Anthony Roth Costanzo, discovered he’d be appearing onstage naked. And not just for a moment—he’d be walking around fully nude, under a spotlight, for a solid five minutes.
“At the first break from rehearsal, I called the ENO and was like, ‘Is there a trainer?’ ” Costanzo says. It was 2016, and at the time he was 33, 5 feet 8, and weighed about 130 pounds. Hardly out of shape, he acknowledges, and yet “if someone told you that in six weeks you’ll be naked in front of 20,000 to 30,000 people, you’d want to look the best you could, too.”