20 famous opera singers in the world: Voice classification and nationality

20 famous opera singers in the world: Voice classification and nationality

Opera singers are among the world's most accomplished artists, with outstanding vocal skills and a stage appearance that can enchant audiences for hours. Opera has produced several renowned artists who have left a lasting impression on the art form while encouraging countless more to follow their path over the years. Who are the most famous opera singers in the world?

famous opera singers in 2023
Marilyn, Cecilia, Jose and Montserrat Caballe are some of the most famous opera singers in the world. Photo: Jack Mitchell, Moenkebild, Hristo Rusev, Jean Pimentel (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Opera is a type of theatre whereby music plays an important role and vocalists perform dramatic functions. Female voices are classified as contralto or soprano, while male voices are classified as tenor or bass. Opera artists require extensive instruction, and only a few succeed in the opera profession. Opera performers have modernised the art form by including additional voices and tones in their vocal style.

20 famous opera singers in 2023

Opera is a performing art that originated in Italy near the end of the 1500s. Some lovely names stand out among opera enthusiasts as the most outstanding opera artists. These accomplished singers range from forceful baritones to memorable sopranos.

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1. Enrico Caruso

famous opera singers
Portrait of the opera singer Enrico Caruso (1873-1921). Private Collection. Photo: Fine Art Images
Source: Getty Images

Enrico Caruso was a famous Italian tenor artist primarily recognised as one of the finest vocalists in opera history. Caruso, born in Naples, Italy, in 1873, started singing as a young man and immediately distinguished himself as an emerging star in the field of opera.

2. Renee Fleming

famous opera singers
Renée Fleming attends the 16th Annual Stand Up For Heroes at David Geffen Hall in New York City. Photo: John Lamparski
Source: Getty Images

Renée Fleming is an American singer considered one of her generation's most gifted and diverse singers. Fleming, born in Indiana in 1959, commenced her musical studies at a young age and swiftly rose to prominence in opera. Her deep, velvety voice and flawless technique made her an outstanding performer, and she swiftly established herself as one of the most talented sopranos of her period.

3. Luciano Pavarotti

famous opera singers
Portrait of Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti (1935 - 2007), Madrid, Spain, 1993. Photo: Gianni Ferrari
Source: Getty Images

Luciano Pavarotti was an Italian tenor singer who became one of the twentieth century's most recognised and adored male opera singers. Pavarotti's voice was recognised as extraordinary from an early age when he was born in Modena, Italy, in 1935.

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4. Joan Sutherland

famous opera singers
Australian soprano Dame Joan Sutherland (1926 - 2010) (as 'Lucia') on stage in the Metropolitan Opera production of Gaetano Donizetti's 'Lucia di Lammermoor'. Photo: Jack Vartoogian
Source: Getty Images

Joan was an Australian soprano opera musician who became one of the twentieth century's most famous and admired vocalists. Joan, born in Sydney, Australia, in 1926, started her singing career in the 1950s, immediately achieving recognition for her astonishing vocal range, strength, and control.

5. Jessye Norman

famous opera singers
Jessye Norman during Nice Jazz Festival 2004 - Day 4 - Jessye Norman at Cimiez Arena And Park in Nice, France. Photo: Christian Alminana
Source: Getty Images

Jessye was an American soprano singer widely recognised as one of the outstanding performers of her period. Born in Georgia in 1945, Jessye started singing in church choirs as a youngster and rapidly acquired a passion for music.

6. Marilyn Horne

famous opera singers
American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne introduces her 9th Annual Marilyn Horne Foundation New York Recital concert 'Vienna to Broadway'.
Source: Getty Images

Marilyn Horne is a mezzo-soprano from the United States who is widely recognised as one of the most famous female opera singers of the 20th century. Born in 1934 in Pennsylvania, Marilyn started performing as a kid and rapidly acquired a profound love for music.

7. Rene Pape

famous opera singers
Rene Pape sings during the AIDS Solidarity Gala at Hofburg Vienna in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Thomas Niedermueller
Source: Getty Images

René is a German bass-baritone singer widely recognised as one of his generation's best vocalists. Pape, born in Dresden in 1964, commenced his singing profession in his early twenties and immediately distinguished himself as a gifted young artist.

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8. Jussi Bjorling

famous opera singers
Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling (1911 - 1960) rehearsed the role of Rodolfo in La Boheme at Covent Garden, London. Photo: Central Press
Source: Getty Images

Jussi was a Swedish tenor artist widely considered one of the best vocalists of the twentieth century. Björling was born in 1911 in Sweden as a child of two accomplished opera musicians and started singing as a toddler.

9. Maria Callas

famous opera singers
Greek actress Maria Callas on the set of the film Medee (Medea), directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Photo: San Marco
Source: Getty Images

Maria Callas was a United States citizen and Greek soprano singer widely recognised as one of the twentieth century's best female opera singers. Callas, born in New York City in 1923, commenced her musical instruction at a young age and swiftly rose to prominence in the opera world.

10. Jose Carreras

famous opera singers
Spanish tenor José Carreras attends the thirtieth edition of the 2022 Christmas Concert at the Conciliazione Auditorium. The concert will be broadcast. Photo: Rocco Spaziani
Source: Getty Images

José Carreras is a famous Spanish tenor artist recognised for his expressive and robust voice. Carreras, born in Barcelona in 1946, started singing as a young man and immediately distinguished himself as one of the most gifted tenors of his period.

11. Beniamino Gigli

famous opera singers
Portrait of Beniamino Gigli (1890-1957), Italian tenor, from L'Illustrazione Italiana, Year LII, No 50, December 12, 1926.
Source: Getty Images

Beniamino was a prominent Italian tenor artist widely considered one of the best vocalists of the early twentieth century. Gigli, born in Italy in 1890, started performing as a young guy and immediately established a name as a remarkable musician.

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12. Sherrill Milnes

famous opera singers
Opera singer Sherrill Milnes attends the Viennese Opera Ball Diamond Jubilee at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Photo: Desiree Navarro
Source: Getty Images

Sherrill Milnes is a famous American baritone musician widely recognised as one of the twentieth century's best opera musicians. Milnes, born in Illinois in 1935, started performing as a young guy and immediately established a reputation as an outstanding performer.

13. Montserrat Caballe

famous opera singers
Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballe, circa 1968. Photo: Erich Auerbach
Source: Getty Images

Montserrat was an iconic Spanish operatic soprano widely considered one of the twentieth century's best singers. Montserrat, born in Barcelona in 1933, started performing as a kid and rapidly established a reputation as a tremendous singer.

14. Cecilia Bartoli

famous opera singers
Italian coloratura mezzo-soprano opera singer and recitalist Cecilia Bartoli. Photo: Catherine Panchout
Source: Getty Images

Cecilia is a renowned Italian mezzo-soprano widely considered one of her generation's outstanding singers. Bartoli, born in Rome in 1966, started singing as a toddler and rapidly established a reputation as a remarkable singer.

15. Placido Domingo

famous opera singers
Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo performing during a concert as a part of the 'Noches de Ensueño' Tour at Arena Ciudad de México in Mexico City, Mexico. Photo: Medios y Media
Source: Getty Images

Plácido Domingo is an acclaimed Spanish tenor and composer widely recognised as one of his generation's most accomplished and diverse singers. Born in Madrid in 1941, Domingo started performing as a young man and rapidly distinguished himself as an upcoming superstar in the opera world.

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16. Robert Merrill

famous opera singers
Closeups of Robert Merrill st March 15th Grammy Awards dinner presented by the New York chapter of the National Academy of recording arts and Sciences.
Source: Getty Images

Robert was a famous American operatic baritone widely recognised as one of his era's greatest vocalists. Robert, born in Williamsburg in 1917, started singing professionally as a cantor in his neighbourhood synagogue before attending the Juilliard School of Music.

17. Bryn Terfel

famous opera singers
Bryn Terfel attends "Wales To The World" at Sony Hall in New York City. Photo: Jason Mendez
Source: Getty Images

Bryn is a famous Welsh bass-baritone artist considered one of his generation's greatest vocalists. Terfel, born in Pant Glas in 1965, started performing as a young man and immediately distinguished himself as one of the most brilliant bass-baritones of his time.

18. Kathleen Battle

famous opera singers
The soprano Kathleen Battle in a solo recital at Carnegie Hall on Sunday afternoon, April 13, 2008. Photo: Hiroyuki Ito
Source: Getty Images

Kathleen is a renowned American soprano artist widely considered one of the twentieth century's best opera artists. Born in 1948 in Ohio, Kathleen commenced singing professionally as a young woman and rapidly established a reputation as a remarkable performer.

19. Ryan Allen

famous opera singers
American bass singer Ryan Allen. Photo: @Ryan_Allen
Source: UGC

Ryan is one of the male opera singers of the 21st century. He was an operatic bass singer from the United States. He was born in 1943 and has performed commercially in every American state. He has appeared with various American opera groups and has served as a soloist in Israel, Russia, Poland, Sweden, and Norway.

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20. Kiri Te Kanawa

famous opera singers
Kiri Te Kanawa attends the 12th Annual OPERA NEWS Awards at the Grand Ballroom at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. Photo: John Lamparski
Source: Getty Images

Kiri Te Kanawa is an acclaimed New Zealand soprano singer widely recognised as one of the twentieth century's best opera performers. Kiri, born in 1944 in New Zealand, started singing professionally as a young woman and immediately established a reputation as a remarkable singer.

Famous opera singers
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Above are some of the most famous opera singers in the world. Opera singers are among the world's most accomplished artists, with outstanding vocal skills and a stage appearance that can enchant audiences for hours. In opera, female voices are classified as contralto or soprano, while male voices are classified as tenor or bass.

Yen.com.gh recently published a list of the biggest artist in Ghana. Ghanaian musicians demonstrate their versatility by experimenting with numerous genres and partnering with performers from other countries.

The Ghanaian entertainment sector is home to several well-known artists. They are renowned for their unrivalled talents and ability to produce hit after hit. While several have been in the profession for many years, others are new.

Source: YEN.com.gh

Authors:
Tatiana Thiga avatar

Tatiana Thiga (Lifestyle writer) Tatiana Thiga is a content creator who joined Yen in 2022. She is an English literature graduate from Kenyatta University. She has amassed sufficient knowledge working on a variety of topics, including biographies, fashion and lifestyles, guides, and more. In 2023, Tatiana finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. You can reach her at tatianathiga@gmail.com

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