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The World's Greatest Tenors

Updated on December 6, 2012

Five Great Tenors

Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)
Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)
Richard Tauber (1891-1948)
Richard Tauber (1891-1948)
Mario Lanza (1921-1959)
Mario Lanza (1921-1959)
Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007)
Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007)
Andrea Bocelli (1958-????)
Andrea Bocelli (1958-????)

The World's Greatest Tenors

4 out of 5 stars from 6 ratings of The World's Greatest Tenors




Any list of the world’s greatest anything is completely subjective and this one isn’t any different. To be honest, I am not even an opera buff in the traditional sense. I have only seen two operas and I rarely listen to complete operas. However, I love the arias and I have listened to a selection of recordings from each of the tenors that I list in the table at the end of this article.


In addition, I have heard Pavarotti three times, Domingo and Carreras each twice and Bocelli once all in live concerts. Nevertheless, I would be interested to receive your comments. I should also let you know that I use the term tenor in the broadest sense and I do not limit it to only those artists who mainly performed in operas.


In the future, I plan to write a hub about each of the eighteen tenors that I have listed. To complete this hub, I have selected five of the eighteen tenors that have a special meaning for me. For each one I have explained why that tenor is special and I have added a video recording for each of them.


No list of tenors would be complete without him. Caruso is the tenor that all great tenors are compared to. In addition, Caruso is special for me for another reason. I met my wife on New Years Eve eighteen years ago at a private gathering at my niece’s home. After the clock struck midnight we decided to watch a video before I took her home. The video was "The Great Caruso" and the lead role was sung by Mario Lanza.


– This choice may surprise you. I had never even heard of him until a good friend of mine, who had moved here from Germany, told me how her mother would listen to Tauber’s records with tears in her eyes. I managed to locate some of his records and they moved me too. In addition to opera, Tauber was the epitome of Viennese operetta. Years later, sitting in a small café in Vienna listening to an elderly man with an accordion sing the same songs; a tear came to my eyes too.


– You already know one reason why he is special for me, but I also learned to love opera arias listening to his records. He never performed in an opera, but he recorded many of the most famous arias, and you didn’t have to listen to three hours of boring music to get to the good parts.


– I managed to attend two of his concerts and I also got to one of the Three Tenors Concerts. When Carreras sang, his face turned red and the veins stood out on his forehead. When Domingo sang, it was with somewhat less effort, but when Pavarotti sang, it was like watching someone turn on the water to one of the fountains in Rome. The sound flowed out of him effortlessly like water flowing from a fountain.


– My wife first heard about him and convinced me to spend quite a lot of money to take her and our teenage daughter to see him in concert. Our daughter wasn’t too thrilled about listening to someone sing opera, but when this handsome, young blind man started to sing Italian love songs, my daughter couldn’t get enough. He is the most romantic tenor that I have ever heard.


Enough talk. The only way to appreciate these tenors is to listen to them. I have selected a representative video for each tenor, so take off your shoes, relax and prepare to be entertained.


Enrico Caruso (Una Furtiva Lagrima)

Richard Tauber (Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz)

Mario Lanza (O Solo Mio)

Luciano Pavarotti (Nessun Dorma)

Andrea Bocelli (Mama)


(click column header to sort results)
Enrico Caruso
John McCormack
Tito Shipa
Beniamino Gigli
Lauritz Melchoir
Richard Tauber
Josef Schmidt
Jan Peerce
Jussi Bjorling
Richard Tucker
Mario Lanza
Franco Corelli
Guiseppe di Stefano
Fritz Wunderlich
Luciano Pavarotti
Placido Domingo
Jose Carreras
Andrea Bocelli


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    • profile image

      frank puccillil 

      3 years ago

      How do you think Enrico Caruso's voice would sound on today's modern recording apparatus?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Mario del Monaco, Franco Corelli, Jussi Bjorling and Carlo Bergonzi were the greatest tenors during post World War II era. Bocelli should not be even mentioned here. He is not schooled to be an opera singer and this is opera singer conquest.

    • profile image

      Bon Jovi 

      5 years ago

      Subjective or not you are missing a few shingles from your roof.

    • profile image

      kum zee 

      7 years ago

      Andrea Bocelli is an adorable singer, he made me develop that interest in improving my tenor. My greatest wish on earth is to practice with Bocelli. Andrea is an extraordinary awesome tenor singer. In fact he is my mentor ........

    • greatcookinmawmaw profile image


      7 years ago from China Grove, NC

      I will agree, Bocelli made me fall in love with Opera!! He is a Beautiful Spirit!!!!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      7 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I grew with hearing Lanza. Pavarotti, Domingo,Carreras and Bocelli have all been great to listen to. We have actually seen Bocelli twice amazing. Voted up and awesome

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      7 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Wonderful and awesome. My two favorite have always been Caruso and Lanza. Thanks for the great music.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      These tenors are experts. I've seen and gotten a chance to witness Luciano Pavarotti on stages. He was an extraordinary vocalist. These kinds of talents are admirable.


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