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.
Distinguished American operatic soprano Beverly Sills is best-remembered for her coloratura soprano roles in live opera and recordings. Two of her memorable roles include the title role in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and Elisabetta in Donizetti's Roberto Devereux. Following her retirement, Sills served as general manager of New York City Opera, chairwoman of Lincoln Center and chairwoman of Metropolitan Opera.
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.
Distinguished American mezzo-soprano opera-singer Marilyn Horne was best-known for her bel canto and opera seria roles. Memorable performances of Horne includes in Alban Berg's Wozzeck, Vincenzo Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda and Gioachino Rossini’s Le siège de Corinthe. Horne received several awards and honours during her career including four Grammy Awards, a National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors.
American actor and bass-singer Thurl Ravenscroft is best-remembered for providing deep bass-voice for breakfast-cereal icon Tony the Tiger for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes breakfast-cereal for over five-decades and for creating and making popular the catchphrase "They're gr-r-reat!". Other notable works of Ravenscroft includes singing the Christmas song You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch and doing voice-over work and singing for Disney.
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.
Kathryn Grayson was an American coloratura soprano and actress. She trained as an opera singer from a young age and went on to play leading roles in popular musical films like Thousands Cheer, Show Boat, and Kiss Me Kate. Later in her career, Kathryn Grayson performed in theatre and operas.
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.
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.
Anna Moffo was an American actress, television personality, and opera singer. One of the most prominent and popular lyric-coloratura sopranos of her generation, Moffo possessed a radiant and warm voice of considerable range. Apart from achieving popularity in the USA, Anna Moffo also became famous in countries like Germany and Italy.
Jeanette MacDonald was an American actress and singer best remembered for her performances in the musical films of the 1930s. Renowned for her singing skills, MacDonald appeared in opera and concerts. One of the 20th century's most influential sopranos, Jeanette MacDonald is credited with inspiring a generation of singers and introducing opera to film-going audiences.
Marjorie Finlay was an American television personality and opera singer. A coloratura soprano, she performed opera, concert, and supper club singing. Marjorie Finlay also had her own TV show, which had viewership in the USA and Europe.
Nelson Eddy was an American actor and singer. A classically trained baritone, Eddy was the world's highest paid singer at the peak of his career. During his illustrious career, which spanned 40 years, Nelson Eddy earned many prestigious awards including three stars on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is also credited with inspiring many Americans to pursue music.
American opera singer Rosa Ponselle, who became known as a Metropolitan Opera star, is best known for her performance in Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma. Starting her career singing in cafes and theaters, she later also performed at London’s Covent Garden. She also served the Baltimore Civic Opera Company as its artistic director.
Risë Stevens was an American actress and singer. She is best remembered for playing the titular role in Carmen. She is also remembered for her association with the Metropolitan Opera National Company, where she worked as director from 1963 to 1968. Stevens' life and career inspired two biographies, namely Subway to the Met and Risë Stevens: A Life in Music.
William Marshall was an American opera singer, actor, and director. He is best remembered for playing the titular character in the 1972 blaxploitation horror film Blacula and its 1973 sequel Scream Blacula Scream. During his career, Marshall also performed on stage and in TV series. He received the Emmy Award for his performance in As Adam Early in the Morning.
Retired American opera singer Mary Costa is best known for voicing Princess Aurora in the Disney animated musical fantasy Sleeping Beauty. Named a Disney Legend later, she has also appeared in iconic operas such as Verdi's in La Traviata. Post-retirement, she has turned into a motivational speaker and fights against child abuse, too.
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.
William Warfield was an American singer and actor. He achieved popularity during the Civil Rights era and received many prestigious awards, including a Grammy Award. Best remembered for his appearances in television programs, Hollywood films, and stage productions, William Warfield also taught at academic institutions and represented the US during foreign tours.
Laura Bretan is a Romanian-American soprano who came into prominence in 2016 when she won the sixth season of the popular TV show, Romania's Got Talent. In the same year, Laura Bretan also appeared in America's Got Talent where she finished sixth.
Joyce DiDonato is an American singer and lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano. She is best known for her famous interpretations of concert works and operas in the 19th-century romantic era. Joyce DiDonato has performed with the world's leading orchestras and opera companies. She has also won many awards, such as the Grammy Award under the Best Classical Vocal Solo category.
American-Canadian opera singer Sondra Radvanovsky is known as one of the greatest interpreters of Giuseppe Verdi’s works. She was 21 when she bagged her debut opera role and later soared to fame with performances as Leonora in Il trovatore and as Amelia in Un ballo in Maschera.
Grace Bumbry is an American opera singer who was part of a pioneering generation of African-American classical and opera singers. Bumbry's rich and dynamic voice helped establish her as one of the most important and popular mezzo-sopranos of her generation. Grace Bumbry is also known for her dramatic intensity and fiery temperament on stage.
Born in China, opera singer Zheng Cao later moved to the US to study and further her music career. She had an illustrious career, with major roles in operas such as The Bonesetter’s Daughter and Madama Butterfly. She died at age 46, after a long battle with lung cancer.
American opera singer Grace Moore, also known as the Tennessee Nightingale, initially sang in New York nightclubs and then moved on to Broadway. She is remembered for her Academy Award-nominated role in the romantic musical One Night of Love. She died in a plane crash in Copenhagen after a performance.
American opera singer Shirley Verrett had an almost 4-decade-long career. Starting her opera career with Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia in Ohio, she later gained fame in both Europe and the US. She also performed at London’s Covent Garden and in Paris. She was known as The Black Callas in Italy.
Lisette Oropesa is an American operatic soprano who has a wide range of repertoire that includes works from Mozart, Puccini, Rossini, and Gluck. Oropesa has performed numerous roles in English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian. She is best known for her portrayal of Susanna from The Marriage of Figaro and Lucia from Lucia di Lammermoor.
American opera singer Richard Tucker started his career with the radio and his local synagogue choir. He later gained attention with his Metropolitan Opera debut in Amilcare Ponchielli’s La Gioconda. He died of a heart attack in his dressing room just before a performance in Michigan.
Barbara Hendricks is an American concert singer and operatic soprano. She has performed at major opera houses all over the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Royal Opera House, and La Scala. Barbara Hendricks also performs jazz music and has performed at popular jazz festivals around the world.
Initially a stenographer, Romanian-born American opera singer Reba Fiersohn, better known as Alma Gluck, started her music career after her marriage and soon found success with her performances at the Metropolitan Opera. She scripted history by scoring the first million-selling phonograph record and also co-founded the American Woman's Association.
Geraldine Farrar was an American soprano who was known for both her musical talent and her beauty. She made her opera debut with Faust at the Royal Opera House and later also performed as the Monte Carlo Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. She also appeared in several silent movies, such as Maria Rosa.
American soprano Eileen Farrell had a career that spanned over 6 decades. Apart from being a talented opera singer, she was also equally successful as a blues and jazz singer. The Grammy Award-winning musician also taught music at the Indiana University and the University of Maine.
Jerry Hadley was an American operatic tenor who received three Grammy Awards over the course of his career. He was a leading tenor in America for nearly two decades and could perform equally well in operetta, opera, and on Broadway.
Leonard Warren was an American opera singer best remembered for his association with the Metropolitan Opera, where he was one of the most important and popular artists for many years. A baritone, Leonard Warren performed leading roles in Giuseppe Verdi's operas.
Lawrence Tibbett was an American singer, recording artist, radio personality, and film actor. A baritone, Tibbett is best remembered for his association with the Metropolitan Opera, where he performed leading roles over 600 times between 1923 and 1950. Lawrence Tibbett's immense contributions to the music industry earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Robert McFerrin was an American operatic baritone. In 1955, he performed at the famous Metropolitan Opera, becoming the first African-American to do so. He was also the first African-American to win the Auditions of the Air contest at the Metropolitan Opera. Robert McFerrin is credited with inspiring a generation of African-American singers.
America opera singer Barbara Bonney initially trained in the piano and the cello. She later took up German and music in university, and switched to voice during her junior year at the University of Salzburg. She is now best known for her performances in the interpretations of Mozart and Richard Strauss.
Five-time Grammy Award-winning opera singer Dawn Upshaw began her music career as an apprentice with the Metropolitan Opera. She later won the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, or the Genuis Grant, and also served as a faculty member at institutes such as Bard College. She is also a breast cancer survivor.
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson was an American mezzo-soprano best remembered for her performances of both contemporary works and Baroque era. Lieberson, who started her career as a violist, began to focus on singing only when she was in her 30s. She then went on to perform at popular venues like the Metropolitan Opera. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson received two Grammy Awards posthumously.
Todd Duncan was an American actor and baritone opera singer. He is best remembered for playing Porgy in the premier production of the popular English-language opera, Porgy and Bess. In 1945, Todd Duncan performed at the New York City Opera, becoming the first African American to perform with a major opera company.
Mary Garden was a Scottish-American operatic soprano who achieved popularity in France and America. She was also an exceptional actress who was praised for her nuanced performances. Noted for her beautiful lyric voice, Mary Garden became one of the most popular sopranos at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. She also achieved popularity at the Manhattan Opera House in New York.
Apart from being a passionate horticulturist who created the Lotusland botanical gardens in her California mansion, Ganna Walska was also a renowned opera singer. Born to Polish parents in Brest, she grew up to marry 6 times, each time to an influential person. She also bought Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.
Helen Traubel was an American concert and opera singer. She is best remembered for performing imporant roles in Wilhelm Richard Wagner's operas, such as Brünnhilde and Isolde. A dramatic soprano, Helen Traubel performed at the famous Metropolitan Opera between 1937 and 1953. She also had a successful career as a cabaret and nightclub singer.
Licia Albanese was an American operatic soprano best remembered for her portrayals of Verdi's and Puccini's lyric heroines. From 1940 to 1966, she performed at the Metropolitan Opera where she was a leading artist. Apart from performing, Licia Albanese also conducted master classes at popular institutions like the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School of Music.
Austrian-American opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink was one of the major interpreters of the operas of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss from the pre-World War I period. Her best-known role was perhaps that of Erda in Wagner’s Siegfried. She also delivered charitable performances and appeared on radio shows too.
Tatiana Troyanos was an American mezzo-soprano best remembered for her association with the Metropolitan Opera, where she performed more than 270 times. In an illustrious career that spanned three decades, Tatiana Troyanos came up with memorable operatic recordings, including her most famous performance as Carmen.
Regina Resnik was an American opera singer whose international career spanned five decades. She is best remembered for her association with the Metropolitan Opera, where she performed from 1944 to 1983. She also worked as a stage director at European opera houses in the 1970s and 1980s. A multi-talented personality, Regina Resnik also worked as a voice teacher.
American opera legend Anne Brown is remembered for being the first to play the role of Bess in George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess. She was the first African-American to bag the Margaret McGill Scholarship. She later settled in Norway and married Norwegian Olympian ski jumper Thorleif Schjelderup.