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.
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.
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.
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.
Anna Netrebko is a Russian operatic singer who has performed at popular venues, such as The Royal Opera and Metropolitan Opera. She achieved international fame in 2002, when she played Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival. One of the most decorated operatic singers of her generation, Anna Netrebko was included in the Time 100 list in 2007.
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.
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.
Shirley Jones is an American singer and actress whose portrayal of a prostitute named Lulu Bains in the 1960 film Elmer Gantry earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Thanks to her skills as a singer, Jones has appeared in several musical films like Oklahoma, The Music Man, and Carousel. She has also been a long-time supporter of PETA.
While Classic FM named her The Biggest Selling Classical Artist of the Century, Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins released 13 number-1 albums by age 23. Initially a singing teacher, Jenkins had also worked as a tour guide and a model. Her $10 million record deal with Warner Bros. was the biggest-ever in classical music.
Florence Foster Jenkins was an American socialite who was often ridiculed and mocked for her poor singing ability, which in turn made her popular. Known as the world's worst opera singer, Jenkins became a musical cult-figure in New York City due to her technical incompetence as an amateur soprano. Her life inspired several plays and films, including Florence Foster Jenkins.
Loreena McKennitt is a Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Her music is infused with Celtic and Middle Eastern influences. As a singer, she is known for her refined and clear soprano vocals. She has sold over 14 million records worldwide and is the recipient of several awards, including the Western Canadian Music Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award.
Aida Garifullina is a Russian lyric soprano. She gained mainstream popularity after winning the 2013 Operalia competition and has since been featured in many productions staged at the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, and the Wiener Staatsoper. She also performed at the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening gala concert. She is currently signed to Decca Records.
Mirella Freni was an Italian operatic soprano who appeared at famous international opera houses over the course of her career, which spanned 50 years. Mirella Freni achieved international fame at the popular Glyndebourne Festival, where she performed as Adina in L'elisir d'amore and as Zerlina in Don Giovanni.
Hayley Westenra is a New Zealand singer and songwriter best known for her album Pure which became one of New Zealand's fastest selling albums of all time. The album, which sold over two million copies worldwide, peaked at number one on the UK classical charts. Hayley Westenra is also a well-known philanthropist; she contributes to charities around the world.
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.
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.
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.
Cecilia Bartoli is an Italian opera singer and recitalist. A coloratura mezzo-soprano, Bartoli is renowned for her interpretations of the works of popular composers like Mozart, Bellini, Handel, and Vivaldi. Also known for her versatility, Cecilia Bartoli can sing both mezzo and soprano roles. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including Grammy Awards.
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.
Renata Tebaldi was an Italian lirico-spinto soprano. Regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest opera singers, Tebaldi is best remembered for her performances at popular opera houses like San Carlo, La Scala, and the Metropolitan Opera. Renata Tebaldi was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a Grammy Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Renata Scotto is an Italian singer and opera director. Best known for her musicality and her sense of style, Scotto is regarded as one of the leading singers of her generation. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Anton Coppola Award and two Emmys. Renata Scotto has been working as a teacher since her retirement as a perfomer.
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 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.
The daughter of soprano Montserrat Caballé and tenor Bernabé Martí, Montserrat Martí, or Montsita, is a renowned Spanish soprano in her own right. Known for playing roles such as Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, she has also been part of many charitable concerts. She has also sung with her mother.
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.
Adelina Patti was an Italian opera singer who achieved immense poularity in the USA and Europe. One of the finest singers of her generation, Patti was also among the highest-paid at the peak of her career. Along with her near contemporaries Thérèse Tietjens and Jenny Lind, Adelina Patti is considered one of the most popular sopranos of all time.