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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Grammy Award-winning cololatura opera singer June Anderson had started training in music at age 11 but later graduated with a degree in French from Yale. She made her stage debut with an interpretation of Mozart’s Magic Flute and later gained fame with her bel canto performances.
American soprano Arleen Auger began her career as an elementary school teacher and started gaining fame with her performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Known for her cololatura voice, she performed operas of icons such as Bach and Mozart. She was awarded a posthumous Grammy for her achievements.
American soprano Patricia Racette has had a long and illustrious career with the San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. She is best known for her appearances in interpretations of Puccini and Verdi, such as Madama Butterfly and La Bohème. Openly lesbian, she is married to fellow opera singer Beth Clayton.
Born in the US and raised in Russia, opera singer and pianist Elizaveta Khripounova often experiments with alternative pop, rock, and jazz. He hit tracks have been featured on the soundtracks of series such as Pretty Little Liars. She also sang for a Russian film and the video game Dragon Age Inquisition.
Astrid Varnay was an American dramatic soprano who spent most of her career in Germany and the United States. She is best remembered for playing characters written by Wilhelm Richard Wagner. Astrid Varnay's life and career inspired a documentary titled Never Before, which received accolades in the USA in 2004.
Matilda Sissieretta Jones was an American soprano and the highest-paid African-American performer of her generation. She is credited with founding the Black Patti Troubadours, an acrobatic and musical act comprising 40 comedians, dancers, jugglers, and a chorus of 40 singers. In 2013, Matilda Sissieretta Jones was made an inductee of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.
American opera singer Dorothy Kirsten got her first breakthrough when soprano Grace Moore sponsored her music studies in Rome. She was later associated with the Metropolitan Opera for 3 decades. She is remembered for her roles in interpretations of Giacomo Puccini’s operas such as La Bohème and Madama Butterfly.
Camilla Williams was an American operatic soprano who signed a regular contract with the New York City Opera, becoming the first African-American to receive a full contract with a major opera company in America. She also became the first African-American to perform a major role at the Vienna State Opera. Camilla Williams toured throughout the US as a concert artist.
Eleanor Steber was an American operatic soprano who is widely regarded as one of the first American performers to have achieved stardom as an opera singer. Although her career was often disrupted by alcoholism and marital discord, Eleanor Steber established herself as a performer of the highest standards. After retiring, she taught music at famous conservatories like the Juilliard School.
Evelyn Lear was an American operatic soprano who appeared in over 40 operatic roles during her career. Best remembered for her musical versatility, Lear performed for every major opera company in the USA. In 1966, Evelyn Lear received a Grammy Award under the Best Opera Recording category for her performance of Berg's Wozzeck.
Patricia Neway was an American musical theatre actress and operatic soprano. She achieved popularity as a performer at the New York City Opera and on Broadway during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1960, Patricia won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music.
German-born American opera singer Elisabeth Schumann who was known for her lieder performances. She performed at iconic venues such as the Hamburg Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and Covent Garden. She is perhaps best remembered for her role of Sophie in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. She later taught at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute.
Lillian Nordica was an American opera singer and one of the most prominent dramatic sopranos of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Lillian Nordica achieved immense popularity in Europe, performing a wide range of roles in the French, Italian, and German operatic repertoires.