A renowned opera singer and Georgia native has passed away from COVID-19 at age 38.
Antoine Hodge, who was born and raised in Albany, died after battling COVID-19 for several weeks, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family. Hodge lent his bass-baritone to the beloved Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City as well as The Metropolitan Opera in a production of “Porgy and Bess” during the 2019-2020 season.
“Antoine lit up our stage with his immense talent and helped create the sense of community in ‘Porgy and Bess’ that made our audiences adore it,” read a statement from the Met Opera. “Our thoughts are with Antoine’s loved ones and all his friends and admirers here at the Met.”
The Met Opera plans to honor Hodge by dedicating its opening-night performance of the “Porgy and Bess” revival to him.
He had become well known in operas in Missouri, Colorado and New York for his concert repertoire, performing such works as Mozart’s “Requiem,” Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9,” and Handel’s “Messiah,” according to a report by the Opera Wire.
Prior to making his mark on New York’s opera scene, the South Georgian studied voice performance at Georgia State University and sang at the Atlanta Opera. He performed in revered operas including the “Marriage of Figaro” and “La Traviata.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help his sister with the medical bills that accumulated while he was being treated for the virus, which has now claimed the lives of nearly 15,000 Georgians. About 800 donors have given to the fundraising effort that seeks to raise $250,000. As of Friday morning, nearly $36,000 had been raised.
“His voice was soulful, unique, and powerful and could penetrate every soul in the pews,” a donor wrote on the page for Hodge. “For a church on 5th Avenue, we always had tourists coming and going during the service, but no one ever got up when Antoine was singing. His voice could hold you captive.”
A graveside service for Hodge is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Floral Memory Gardens Cemetery, 120 Old Pretoria Road, Albany. For more information or to sign Hodge’s guestbook, visit the website here.