Famous 20th Century Opera Singers

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 1 
Luciano Pavarotti
(Italian Operatic Tenor Regarded as the 'King of the High Cs')
Luciano Pavarotti
11
Birthdate: October 12, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Modena, Italy
Died: September 6, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti was an operatic tenor who went on to become one of the most loved and acclaimed tenors of all time. Nicknamed the King of the High Cs, Pavarotti is regarded as one of the best tenors of the 20th century. Also a well-known humanitarian, Luciano Pavarotti hosted annual charity concerts to raise money for various UN causes.

 2 
Andrea Bocelli
(Italian Operatic Tenor Noted for His Unique Blend of Opera & Pop Music)
Andrea Bocelli
31
Birthdate: September 22, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lajatico, Italy

Widely regarded as an opera singer with the most beautiful voice, Andrea Bocelli is an Italian record producer and singer-songwriter. He serves as an inspiration to many as he went on to become one of the most popular Italian singers of all time, despite losing his vision at age 12. He has sold more than 90 million records worldwide.

 3 
Placido Domingo
(Spanish Opera Singer, Conductor and Part of 'The Three Tenors' Operatic Singing Group)
Placido Domingo
26
Birthdate: January 21, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain

Spanish opera singer and conductor Plácido Domingo has performed in a variety of languages, such as English, Italian, French, Spanish, and German. The winner of nine Grammys and five Latin Grammys, he later performed as part of The Three Tenors, with legends Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras, releasing bestselling albums.

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 4 
Montserrat Caballé
(Spanish Operatic Soprano Known for Her Pure and Powerful Vocals With Exquisite Pianissimo)
Montserrat Caballé
17
Birthdate: April 12, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: October 6, 2018

Spanish opera singer and a legend of classical music, Montserrat Caballé became an international sensation after recording the duet Barcelona, the official anthem for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, with Freddie Mercury. She is also remembered for his iconic portrayal of the title role of Lucrezia Borgia.

 5 
José Carreras
(Spanish Operatic Tenor Known for His Performances in the Operas of 'Donizetti', 'Verdi' and 'Puccini')
José Carreras
13
Birthdate: December 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain

José Carreras is a Spanish operatic tenor. He is best known for his performances in the operas of Donizetti, Verdi, and Puccini. Making his debut on the operatic stage at the age of 11, he went on to build an illustrious career in the following decades. A leukemia survivor, he founded the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Foundation.  

 6 
Kiri Te Kanawa
(Opera singer)
Kiri Te Kanawa
12
Birthdate: March 6, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gisborne, New Zealand
 7 
Renée Fleming
(American Opera Singer and Broadway Star)
Renée Fleming
27
Birthdate: February 14, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States

Four-time Grammy-winning American soprano Renée Fleming was born to music teacher parents and started her singing career as a jazz vocalist. She later stormed the opera scene with performances in productions such as A Streetcar Named Desire. A Broadway star, she later stepped into rock and film music.

 8 
Anna Netrebko
(Opera singer)
Anna Netrebko
33
Birthdate: September 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Krasnodar, Russia
 9 
Cecilia Bartoli
(Italian Coloratura Mezzo-Soprano Opera Singer and Recitalist)
Cecilia Bartoli
14
Birthdate: June 4, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
 10 
Beverly Sills
(American Operatic Soprano Noted for Performing in Coloratura Soprano Roles in Live Opera and Recordings)
Beverly Sills
10
Birthdate: May 25, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: July 2, 2007
 11 
Bryn Terfel
(Singer, Opera singer, Actor)
Bryn Terfel
10
Birthdate: November 9, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pant Glas

Welsh opera singer Bryn Terfel initially gained fame with his roles in operas such as The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. The Guildhall alumnus later won a Grammy and 4 Classic Brit Awards. He was also knighted and awarded a CBE honor for his extraordinary achievements in music.

 12 
Tarja Turunen
(Finnish Heavy Metal Singer-Songwriter & Co-Founder of the Symphonic Metal Band 'Nightwish')
Tarja Turunen
32
Birthdate: August 17, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kitee, Finland

Tarja Turunen is a Finnish singer-songwriter and an exponent of heavy metal. She is credited with co-founding the popular symphonic metal band Nightwish, where she peformed as the lead vocalist. The band's symphonic metal style, which was referred to as opera metal, inspired several other bands and performers.

 13 
Joan Sutherland
(Opera Singer)
Joan Sutherland
13
Birthdate: November 7, 1926
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Died: October 10, 2010

Australian soprano Joan Sutherland was exposed to music at an early age, being the daughter of a singer. Trained in voice and the piano by her mother, she made her debut as Dido in Dido and Aeneas. The first Australian to earn a Grammy, she was also awarded the DBE.

 14 
Elīna Garanča
15
Birthdate: September 16, 1976
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Riga, Latvia
 15 
Renata Tebaldi
(Italian Lirico-Spinto Soprano)
Renata Tebaldi
7
Birthdate: February 1, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pesaro, Italy
Died: December 19, 2004
 16 
Marilyn Horne
(Distinguished American Mezzo-Soprano Opera Singer Who Won Four Grammy Awards)
Marilyn Horne
5
Birthdate: January 16, 1934
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bradford, Pennsylvania, United States
 17 
Birgit Nilsson
(Swedish Singer Best Known for Her Performances in the Operas of ‘Richard Wagner’ and ‘Richard Strauss’)
Birgit Nilsson
8
Birthdate: May 17, 1918
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Västra Karup, Sweden
Died: December 25, 2005

Birgit Nilsson was a Swedish dramatic soprano remembered for her association with composers like Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner. One of the most celebrated Swedish singers of all time, Nilsson won many awards, such as the 1966 Sonning Award. In 1982, she won the Swedish-American of the Year Award. In 2012, she was inducted into the Gramophone's Hall of Fame.

 18 
Juan Diego Flórez
6
Birthdate: January 13, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lima, Peru
 19 
Enrico Caruso
(Operatic Tenor of the Early 20th Century & One of the First Musicians to Document His Voice on Recordings)
Enrico Caruso
10
Birthdate: February 25, 1873
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: August 2, 1921

Enrico Caruso was an operatic tenor who performed at prominent opera houses in the Americas and Europe. His commercially released recordings made him an international star in the early-1900s. Thanks to his illustrious career that spanned 25 years, Caruso became one of the most popular entertainers of his generation. In 1987, he was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

 20 
Lily Pons
(American-French operatic soprano)
Lily Pons
8
Birthdate: April 12, 1898
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Draguignan, France
Died: February 13, 1976
 21 
Jussi Björling
(Swedish Operatic Tenor Who was One of the Leading Opera Singers of the 20th Century)
Jussi Björling
7
Birthdate: February 5, 1911
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Borlänge, Sweden
Died: September 9, 1960

Swedish operatic tenor Jussi Björling was closely associated with New York’s Metropolitan Opera throughout his career. He was particularly known for his expertise in Italian and French repertory. After starting to sing at age 6, he made his opera debut with Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Stockholm.

 22 
Maria Callas
(One of the Most Renowned and Influential Opera Singers of the 20th Century)
Maria Callas
45
Birthdate: December 2, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Died: September 16, 1977
Greek soprano Maria Callas, also known as “La Divina,” is considered one of the greatest opera singers of the 20th century. The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winner was also in the news for her affair with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, her rivalry with Renata Tebaldi, and her gradually declining vocal ability.
 23 
Kathryn Grayson
(American Coloratura Soprano and Actress)
Kathryn Grayson
51
Birthdate: February 9, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
Died: February 17, 2010
 24 
Paul Sorvino
(Actor and Singer Known for His Role as ‘Paulie Cicero’ in the Film ‘Goodfellas’)
Paul Sorvino
14
Birthdate: April 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died: July 25, 2022
Paul Sorvino, father of actors Mira and Michael Sorvino, is best known as Paulie Cicero from the movie Goodfellas and Phil Cerreta from the series Law & Order. A skilled sculptor, too, he specializes in bronze. He owns a brand of pasta sauces and is a co-owner of Janson-Beckett Cosmeceuticals.
 25 
Leontyne Price
(The First African-American Opera Singer to Achieve International Fame)
Leontyne Price
8
Birthdate: February 10, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Laurel, Mississippi, United States

Multiple Grammy-winning legendary opera singer and musical diva Leontyne Price became the first singer of African-American origin who achieved international fame in opera. She soared to fame with her appearance in the TV production of Tosca and later performed at iconic venues, such as London’s Royal Opera House.

 26 
Charlotte Church
16
Birthdate: February 21, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales

Charlotte Church is a Welsh actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, and television presenter. She achieved popularity after hosting her own chat show for Channel 4, The Charlotte Church Show. As a recording artist, Church has won many awards, including a Hollywood Reporters Young Star Award and Classical BRIT Award. She has also published an autobiography named Voice of an Angel.  

 27 
Thurl Ravenscroft
(Actor and Bass Singer Who Provided Voice for 'Kellogg's Frosted Flakes' Animated Spokesman 'Tony the Tiger')
Thurl Ravenscroft
13
Birthdate: February 6, 1914
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Norfolk
Died: May 22, 2005
 28 
Jessye Norman
(Legendary American Opera Singer and 5-Time Grammy Winner)
Jessye Norman
10
Birthdate: September 15, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia, United States
Died: September 30, 2019

American opera singer and recitalist Jessye Norman was born into a family of musicians and made her opera debut with Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser in Berlin. A 5-time Grammy winner, she performed at iconic venues such as the Paris Opera and London’s Royal Opera, and also served as an ambassador to the UN.

 29 
Darius Campbell
(Singer, Opera singer, Songwriter)
Darius Campbell
13
Birthdate: August 19, 1980
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Glasgow
 30 
Adelina Patti
(Italian Opera Singer)
Adelina Patti
12
Birthdate: February 10, 1843
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: September 27, 1919
 31 
Deanna Durbin
(Actress & Singer)
Deanna Durbin
16
Birthdate: December 4, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Died: April 17, 2013
 32 
Sarah Brightman
(Soprano Singer)
Sarah Brightman
21
Birthdate: August 14, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England
Classical crossover soprano and actor Sarah Brightman is best known for her international hit Time to Say Goodbye, sung with Andrea Bocelli. She has also performed in various West End and Broadway musicals, such as Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. She was previously married to Andrew Lloyd Webber.
 33 
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
5
Birthdate: May 28, 1925
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: May 18, 2012
 34 
Franco Corelli
(Italian Tenor)
Franco Corelli
4
Birthdate: April 8, 1921
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ancona, Italy
Died: October 29, 2003
 35 
Dmitri Hvorostovsky
(Opera singer)
Dmitri Hvorostovsky
16
Birthdate: October 16, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Krasnoyarsk, Russia
Died: November 22, 2017
 36 
Jonas Kaufmann
(German Operatic Tenor Best Known for the Versatility of His Repertoire)
Jonas Kaufmann
8
Birthdate: July 10, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

German opera tenor Jonas Kaufmann is best known for his versatility. Born to music lover parents, he grew up listening to his father’s collection of classical music. Dropping out of a math course in university, he opted for music instead. He is best known for his performance in Don Carlos.

 37 
Mirella Freni
(Italian Operatic Soprano)
Mirella Freni
10
Birthdate: February 27, 1935
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Modena, Italy
Died: February 9, 2020
 38 
Kathleen Battle
(Grammy-Winning American Opera Singer Who Performed Mostly at the Metropolitan Opera)
Kathleen Battle
27
Birthdate: August 13, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Ohio, United States

American opera singer Kathleen Battle is said to be one of the greatest coloratura sopranos of her era. Initially a teacher, she got a breakthrough when conductor Thomas Schippers noticed her. A 5-time Grammy Award winner, she became a star of the Metropolitan Opera and later also won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement.

 39 
Robert Merrill
(Legendary American Operatic Baritone Who Was a Star of the Metropolitan Opera)
Robert Merrill
6
Birthdate: June 4, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: October 23, 2004

National Medal of Arts-winning American opera singer Robert Merrill began his career singing on radio shows and family functions. He made his opera debut with a production of Verdi's Aida and soon became known as a star of New York’s Metropolitan Opera. His later years saw him performing at sports events, too.

 40 
Anna Moffo
(American Actress, Television Personality, and Opera Singer)
Anna Moffo
13
Birthdate: June 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wayne, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 9, 2006
 41 
Nicolai Gedda
(Swedish Opera Singer Who Was a Renowned Lyric Tenor)
Nicolai Gedda
3
Birthdate: July 11, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: January 8, 2017

Swedish opera singer Nicolai Gedda was one of the most influential lyric tenors of the world back in his time. His language skills helped him perform in languages as varied as English, French, German, and Italian. One of his most iconic roles was that of Anatol in Vanessa.

 42 
Lee Hoi-chuen
(Opera Singer, Actor)
Lee Hoi-chuen
12
Birthdate: February 4, 1901
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shunde District, China
Died: February 7, 1965

Better known as Bruce Lee’s father, Cantonese opera performer Lee Hoi-chuen married half-Chinese and half-German Grace Ho after moving to Hong Kong. Bruce Lee was born to them while they were touring U.S. for an opera. His death, just days after the birth of his grandson Brandon Lee, shocked many.

 43 
Ezio Pinza
(Italian Opera Singer and Actor)
Ezio Pinza
6
Birthdate: May 18, 1892
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: May 9, 1957
 44 
Beniamino Gigli
(Italian Opera Singer Who is Regarded as One of the Greatest Tenors of His Generation)
Beniamino Gigli
5
Birthdate: March 20, 1890
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Recanati, Italy
Died: November 30, 1957
 45 
Kirsten Flagstad
(Opera Singer)
Kirsten Flagstad
6
Birthdate: July 12, 1895
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hamar, Norway
Died: December 7, 1962
 46 
Giuseppe Di Stefano
(Italian Operatic Tenor)
Giuseppe Di Stefano
5
Birthdate: July 24, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Motta Sant'Anastasia, Italy
Died: March 3, 2008
 47 
Malena Ernman
(Swedish Opera Singer)
Malena Ernman
15
Birthdate: November 4, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Uppsala, Sweden

Malena Ernman is a Swedish opera singer who represented her country at the 54th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Moscow, Russia. Apart from operas and operettas, she also performs jazz, cabaret, and chansons. Also an environmental activist, Malena Ernman was adjudged Environmental Hero of the Year by an organization called WWF-Sweden in 2017.

Kate Miller-Heidke
17
Birthdate: November 16, 1981
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gladstone Central, Australia

Award-winning Australian singer Kate Miller‐Heidke specializes in both contemporary pop and classical music. Apart from releasing multi-platinum hits such as Last Day on Earth, she has also composed the opera Rabbits and performed at various international music festivals. Her album O Vertigo! became the fastest crowdfunded project on Pledge.

 49 
Lauren Ambrose
(American Actress)
Lauren Ambrose
72
Birthdate: February 20, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, USA
 50 
Erland Van Lidth De Jeude
(Actor, Wrestler)
Erland Van Lidth De Jeude
13
Birthdate: June 3, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hilversum, Netherlands
Died: September 23, 1987

Erland Van Lidth De Jeude was a Dutch-American actor, amateur wrestler, and opera singer. While pursuing his wrestling career, he was given an opportunity to portray the role of the fearsome Terror in the 1979 American comedy-drama film The Wanderers. He then landed a couple of other roles, including his role as Dynamo in the 1987 film The Running Man.