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The 10 Best Opera Singers of all Times. Read over 60,000 times!

Updated on June 3, 2015

The Swedish Tenor

Funiculi Funicula

The amazing art known as Opera!

Thank you for reading this list! I have some exciting news! I am writing a separate blog/hub on each of these singers and some not on this list. Please be on the lookout for all of them.

It has been amazing to watch this explode to over 50,000 reads! Thank you for getting this article there!

Many people have commented about who Pavarotti thought was the best ever. I have heard everything from Bjorling, to Callas, to Carusso, to Lanza, to Domingo. Pavarotti never named 10 different people as the best ever! So, if you are going to state such a claim, please add a link proving that he said that! It makes your comment more valuable.

Note- Please enjoy and remember that music is meant to enrich and bring comfort, not anger.

The one and only

A List of the Best Dozen.

12. Andrea Bocelli- Out side of the tenors, he is an Italian favorite and legend.Some have chosen to say that Andrea is a pop singer and not opera. Those who say that, do not know who was his mentor and that Andrea sang at his funeral. Do you know who was Andrea's mentor? Plus I have been listening to Andre for more than a decade, and own many Opera albums

12. Denyce Graves- She sings a little lower than most female singers, but hits her notes with such power. she makes you listen to the words as she sings.

11. Dmitry Hvorostovsky- As the only Russian on the list, Dmitry is not as well known as some of the others. His voice is so powerful and commanding that he does become better known as time passes. I always enjoy his performances. Please read more about him!

10. Beniamino Gigli- I knew one of his relatives who had a signed copy of one his albums.

9.Angela Gheorghiu -Though not as well known as some on this list, Angela has a gentle pitch and a captivating voice.

8. Maria Callas-A favorite in many musicals and operas. She never seemed to get the praise she deserved. Please click to learn more.

7. Rene Flemming-Listen to her version of Le Nozze de Figaro and Ave Maria. She could go as high as Charlotte Church and sound as beautiful, but has such strength in her voice and fluctuates it perfectly.

Denyce Graves

6.Anthony Kearns- The Irish Tenor on my list. I saw him live and met him. He is an amazing live performer. If he preforms in a town near you, go see what I am talking about! His versions of Danny Boy, and Funiculi Funicula is about the best I have ever heard. He is only 38 and is taking the U.S. by storm. I also want to give a special thanks to all of the Anthony Kearns fans that came here from his website, and the administrator for posting it!

5. Grace Bumbry- A real living legend. Though not as famous as the next 4, she had an unmistakable voice. She could bounce from note to note with such smoothness. Her falsetto ability was amazing in her prime. She made many musicals the classics they were.

4.Mario Lanza- What can I say about one that will NEVER be forgotten. His powerful yet smooth voice could master any opera song. He also has a museum in his name. You will find that Balls, Dinners, and Masses, are still said in his name. Mario Lanza's Museum Here is his bio.

3. Jussi Björling- He is no longer a household name, but you have to hear his version of O Solo Mio, and Oh Holy Night. Here is his Bio and fun facts.

2. Enrico Caruso- Many would have him higher, but I feel that Opera has changed since his era. One man was responsible for Opera's Evolution after the 90's. Caruso was awesome though.


Since you have not seen him anywhere on this list, you already know who number 1 is. 2-12 took some thinking, but number one did not. Who could argue? What a blessing to have him alive in our time!

1. The one and only.....Enrico Palotso! I love his version of the Star Spangled Banner! LOL. Naked Guns Fans are laughing, while the rest of you think I am nuts! Honestly, here is number one.

  1. The Master-

Luciano Pavarotti- There is one singer that everyone thinks of when they hear the word Opera. There will only ever be one Pavarotti. He is the Beatles, Elvis, and Michael Jackson of Opera. Many rock and pop legends wanted to sing duets with this man. Opera begins and ends here, with the man who took it to new levels, while making Opera mainstream music around the world, and bringing it to the Mtv generation! Opera will never more be just for older, white, upper class Americans, thanks to the man who brought it into the pop generation!

Please read this list as well!


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    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 4 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      You are one in the same! You have come on here and unloaded a ton of non sense under several different names.

      Let's see you publish a list!

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 4 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      OK Buff, show me a link. 7 people left comments on hear saying that Pavarotti said that 7 different singers were the best. Pavarotti was not a fool and would not have done that. So, please provide the link.

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 5 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Thank you.

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 5 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Thanks Joe,

      There is no question that he is a great find and a huge surprise. I like he voice, but It may be tough for him to emerge as one of the current greats. He voice is powerful, and he should be able to make it in music for a while, but at this point I really don't see him becoming the next Pavarotti or even very close.

      I know that sounds harsh but there is a big difference between wowing the talent fans and becoming a musical legend like Pavarotti.

    • profile image

      Joe 5 years ago

      Hello Mike,

      I was wondering if you had a chance to hear an amazing new opera duo. My main point is the male vocalist Jonathan Antoine, he seems on the right path to becoming as big as Pavarotti. He was on the most recent Britains Got Talent. If you have never heard of their performance, here is the youtube link.

      I am interested in hearing your opinion on this artist.

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 5 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      I didn't see her as among the 12 best, but I do like her.

    • profile image

      John Felix Koziol 5 years ago

      I can't help but wonder as to why Beverly Sills isn't on this list as well as the other two-thirds of the three tenors, Placido Doming and José Carreras.

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 5 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Thank you!

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      I agree, Mike. If Bocelli is an angel (and he sure sings like one), Pavarotti is the archangel.

      Meanwhile, does this mean that Opera Man isn't getting any love on HP? ;-)

    • Huntgoddess profile image

      Huntgoddess 6 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Thanks for the opera hub. Sorry to take so long to get back to you, Mike.

      Great information and education for me.

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 6 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Thank you for helping get this read 25,000 times!!!!!

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 6 years ago from An uncharted galaxy


      I have included her on other lists. In fact, she is number one on The 15 most beautiful songs, sung by women and Connie Talbot.

      Again, you can write your own list, put her at #1 and then you will know where in God's name she is!

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 6 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

    • profile image

      Amangmahusay 6 years ago

      Where in God's name is SARAH BRIGHTMAN?

    • Huntgoddess profile image

      Huntgoddess 6 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Hey, no problem, Mike. Just telling the truth.

      Oh, yes, I will be very much looking forward to that list of best operas.

      Keep in touch, God bless.

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 6 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Wow! Thank you goddess! That was very nice of you! Please check out my list of the best Operas coming soon...probably around Easter.

      God bless and thanks again!

    • Huntgoddess profile image

      Huntgoddess 6 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Wow, very nice Hub. I remember being so in love with Mario Lanzo when I was a little girl. I'm glad he has not been forgotten.

      It's really nice to have a lot of good info like this all in one place. I think most people --- like me --- really are happy to learn more about opera, but don't know how to go about it. That's why this hub has been read so often.

      Up, awesome, informative, useful.

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 6 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      I have listened to him for years. I just didn't see him as a top 12er.

    • profile image

      daro 6 years ago

      what about placido domingo?

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 6 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      I respect your opinion but I could accept your argument before Pavarotti emerged. He brought Opera to an entirely different level. But for every person who tells me the Domingo, Caruso, Callas, and Bjorling are 1# 2 or 3 are agreeing with Pavarotti.

      We disagree on that but I totally appreciate your kind words, and thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Craig Mauk 6 years ago

      Caruso is #1, but overall, well done!

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 6 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Thank you for the feed back! Opera is such a beautiful form of art and often, story telling, that this one was fun.

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 6 years ago

      Michael I just love learning anything new to music and I truly find opera most spiritual

      Thank you for making my day on this rainy camping day


    • collegatariat profile image

      collegatariat 6 years ago

      What a fun list! And how nice to find some of the lesser-knowns on there. I've loved Anthony Kearns' singing since I was about fourteen, and Renee Fleming is just about the only singer that I can't stop listening to. I agree with you on all of them except Charlotte Church, and I only wish she had gotten the proper training when she was younger so that she could have reached her full potential.

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 6 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Ok, putting the great one, Pavarotti at the bottom of a list of the best Opera Singers and behind 14 others is ridiculous! However, like me, James Kilborne has a right to his opinion.

      If you read my list, you will find Bjorling on it!

    • profile image

      larry dickman 6 years ago

      How could anyone argue with this list? Pavarotti number 15? Please! He was this best!

      Besides, this is one persons opinion. How could that make your blood boil? Take some prosac.

      This is a good list!

    • profile image

      Ola R Hegge 6 years ago

      I love the sound of Pavarotti, but after having listened to O Holy Night with Pavarotti and thereafter with Bjorling...I have to agree with James Kilbourne who writes :"Although many factors beyond technical ability determine who are the greatest singers, certainly it can be said that one’s favorite comes down to a matter of personal taste. The appeal of the sound of a voice and the dramatic approach of artists may move you for so many different reasons that it is not possible objectively declare one artist “the greatest”. Also among the handful of the top interpreters and voices, some such as Enrico Caruso and Mario Lanza didn’t leave us complete operatic recordings and thereby can’t be judged fairly.

      With all of the above considered, it is my opinion that the greatest operatic tenor in recorded history is Jussi Bjorling. Born in Sweden in 1911, he died at his summer resort outside of Stockholm on September 9, 1960 at the age of 49, having earned the title of the “Swedish Caruso.” His career started a the age of five, when he joined his brothers in the Bjorling Quintet and traveled (and recorded) in America. Listening to a voice that is fully in control and operatic when the singer is only five years old is an awe-inspiring experience. His early recordings made between the ages of sixteen and his mid-twenties, reveal a beautifully supple yet richly powerful voice infused with a masculinity and exuberance for life that are infectious. The young artist didn’t yet possess the confidence to sing the music in its original language. As a result, these recordings are all made in Swedish. I defy anyone to walk away from these early recordings ......"

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 7 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Though I like Celia, I did not see her as one of the best 12. If you listen to her duets, especially with Rene Flemming, the other singer usually out shines her. As I said I like Celia, but did not see her as a top 12 singer.

      Again, this is a list that I wrote. 3,0000 people can't expect me to put "their favorites" on here.

    • profile image

      adam 7 years ago

      Cecilia Bartoli?? Where is she??

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 7 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Thank you everyone. I got annoyed with all of the "Opera purists" coming on here and insulting me for putting Bocelli and Charlotte on this list. I deleted most of those comments. Come on, how is Andrea Bocelli, Pavarotti's favorite protégé and singer at Luciano's funeral a pop signer. That was crazy!

    • profile image

      Dave 7 years ago

      I agree with this list! Well thought out!

    • romper20 profile image

      romper20 7 years ago from California

      Well done! I enjoyed your hub. Thank you for sharing!

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 7 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      In your opinion. And you have the right to have one! I have heard many comments on this list and no one has criticized Bocelli being on it!

    • profile image

      phantom of the opera 7 years ago

      Most of these singers have done substantial 'pop' recording. Although most are truly great singers, I don't think Charlotte Church or Andrea Bocelli would be considered all-time great masters, despite their best-selling records. The list is long: Nellie Melba, Geraldine Farrer, the great Irish tenor John McCormack, Giovanni Martinelli, baritone Giuseppe De Luca...

      They might not have Christmas recordings, but their artistry secured their place in history as greatest singers of all time.

    • profile image

      Ken 7 years ago

      Pavarotti upon being compared to Jussi Björling: "Please, I am only human".

    • theartist331 profile image

      theartist331 7 years ago from USA

      COMPLETELY AGREE!!!! :) I LOVE Charlotte Church, Angela Gheorghiu, Andrea Bocelli, and "The Master" as you call him! haha:) I just recently discovered Angela Gheorghiu's rendition of "Habanera" from Carmen on YouTube and FELL IN LOVe with her voice! haha:) great list! you're right though, I think there's definitely a lot of debate among whose the best AND worst! haha:)

    • vtotheyouknow profile image

      vtotheyouknow 7 years ago

      Great List Mike!

      As a Ukrainian baritone I would be beaten with a Ukrainian flag by my fellow countrymen if I didn't mention Chialapin and Hvorostovsky as kings among baritones.

      Best Wishes!


    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 7 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Thank you so much!

      I like Andrea myself. I have a new hub coming this week that includes him, entitled " the best performances on Sesame Street" He was great with Elmo! LOL

      Opers is catching fire with younger people now. Pavoroti got a lot of MTV time before he passed.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting!

    • j_costa7990 profile image

      j_costa7990 7 years ago

      Andrea Bocelli is one of my all time favorites.

      I think opera is an art that surprisingly people of my generation, (yes I am young) don't really appreciate and it is really unfortunate.

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 7 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      I respect your opinion but strongly disagree with it.I love to have conversations about music and, since this has been viewed four times more than my others hubs, it proves that others do too!

    • profile image

      Bathroom tenor 7 years ago

      There are so many that bring us such pleasure .Perhaps because he introduced opera to so many young people of that day the great amazing voice of Mario Lanza,

      The most sweet tenor voice ever was de Stefano . Calllas was awsome ! de Kanawa wonderfull , Gobi great , Chaliappin extraordinary .The list can go on and on lets just enjoy why we can theres nomneed to compare .

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image

      MikeSyrSutton 7 years ago from An uncharted galaxy Thanks for mentioning that! They have a lot of events in his honor as well.

    • profile image

      mary 7 years ago

      Mike, I wonder how many people are aware of Mario Lanza's Museum in So. Pa, just 2 blocks from his childhood home & next to the church in which he was baptized, married & where his funeral was held.

      So small, just 2 rooms & yet jam packed w/so much most people may never have seen. It also has DVD's of his movies for sale. Amazing reminder of what he achieved in such a short life!

    • profile image

      Ann-Marie 8 years ago


      I am pleased to see Anthony Kearns on this list. I have been to several of his concerts and he is genuine, kind and considerate of his fans. A Meet and Greet with him is one event you never forget. Bocelli is a fave also and the purists can keep their opinions of him to themselves. I love the man!!!

      Thanks for sharing this great list.

      Ann-Marie in Rhode Island

    • profile image

      MaryRenee 8 years ago

      Mike: This hub is awesome! I'm crazy for opera, thanks so much for sharing this great hub! :)

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 8 years ago from Central United States of America

      Well I get to show my dummitity about these singers as I only know some of them...but I do agree with your No.1 choice. Thanks for a fun share!

    • nifty@50 profile image

      nifty@50 8 years ago

      Great hub, My father who was a fan of Pavarotti always insisted that Enrico Caruso was the best of all time! I believe a lot of the pre-baby boomers feel that way as well.


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