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Profiles

  • Zelie de Lussan (1861 - 1949)
    Zélie de Lussan (21 December 1861 – 18 December 1949) was an American opera singer of French descent who was successful in her native country but made most of her career in England. The...
  • Lawrence Mervil Tibbett (1896 - 1960)
    Lawrence Mervil Tibbett (November 16, 1896 – July 15, 1960) was a famous American opera singer and recording artist who also performed as a film actor and radio personality. A baritone, he san...
  • Natalina 'Lina' Cavalieri (1874 - 1944)
    Lina Cavalieri Born Natalina Cavalieri at Viterbo on 25 December 1874, she lost her parents when she was fifteen and was sent to live in an orphanage as a ward of the state. A vivacious young girl, s...
  • Isabella Colbrand (1785 - 1845)
    Isabella Colbran (2 February 1785, Madrid—7 October 1845, Bologna) was a Spanish opera singer, who was known in her native country as Isabel Colbrandt. Many sources note her as a dramatic colora...
  • Julia Espín (1838 - 1906)
    La cantante de ópera Julia Espín inspiró en su juventud algunos versos de ‘Rimas’ de Bécquer, quien también la homenajeó con dos álbumes c...

Scope of Project

This project identifies the personalities of the World of Opera, from Castratos to Prima Donnas.

Opera Singers By Nationality - Wikipedia List

Opera Singers

  • Johan Jonatan "Jussi" Björling (1911 – 9 1960) Swedish tenor. One of the leading operatic singers of the 20th century,
  • Sarah Brightman
  • Maria Callas
  • Jose Carreras
  • Enrico Caruso
  • Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (1873 – 1938) Russian opera singer, possessor of a large and expressive bass voice.
  • Victoria de los Ángeles (1923 – 2005) Spanish Catalan operatic dramatic soprano and recitalist.
  • Placido Domingo
  • Geraldine Farrar
  • Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925 – 2012) German lyric baritone and conductor of classical music, considered to be "the most influential singer of the 20th Century".
  • Kirsten Målfrid Flagstad (1895 – 1962) Norwegian opera singer and a highly regarded Wagnerian (dramatic) soprano. She ranks among the greatest singers of the 20th century.
  • Rene Fleming
  • Nicolai Gedda (b. 1925) Swedish operatic tenor.
  • Eva Gibson
  • Beniamino Gigli (1890 – 1957) Italian opera singer. The most famous tenor of his generation.
  • Mario Lanza
  • Lotte Lehmann
  • Dame Nellie Melba GBE
  • Claudia Muzio
  • Luciano Pavarotti
  • Jan Peerce
  • Mary Violet Leontyne Price (b. 1927) American soprano.
  • Lily Pons
  • Anna Sarnoff
  • Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, DBE (1915 – 2006) German-born Austrian/British soprano opera singer and recitalist.
  • Beverly Sills
  • Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE (1926 – 2010) Australian dramatic coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s through to the 1980s.
  • Renata Tebaldi (1922 – 2004) Italian lirico-spinto soprano. Acclaimed as one of the most beloved opera singers of all time
  • Kiri (Claire Mary Teresa) Te Kanawa
  • Richard Tucker
  • Friedrich Karl Otto, "Fritz" Wunderlich (1930 – 1966) German lyric tenor, famed for his singing of the Mozart repertory and Italian and German opera and lieder. In 2008, Wunderlich was voted the fourth greatest tenor of all time (BBC).
  • Jessye Norman (b. 1945) American dramatic soprano, associated in particular with the Wagnerian repertoire.
  • Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993) American contralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century.
  • William Warfield (22 January 1920 – 26 August 2002), American concert bass-baritone.

Project Profile Time Magazine - November 22, 1971

Overview

Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text (called a libretto) and musical score. Opera is part of the Western classical music tradition. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble. Opera started in Italy at the end of the 16th century (with Jacopo Peri's lost Dafne, produced in Florence around 1597) and soon spread through the rest of Europe: Schütz in Germany, Lully in France, and Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century. However, in the 18th century, Italian opera continued to dominate most of Europe, except France, attracting foreign composers such as Handel. Opera seria was the most prestigious form of Italian opera, until Gluck reacted against its artificiality with his "reform" operas in the 1760s. Today the most renowned figure of late 18th century opera is Mozart, who began with opera seria but is most famous for his Italian comic operas, especially The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte, as well as The Magic Flute, a landmark in the German tradition. The first third of the 19th century saw the highpoint of the bel canto style, with Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini all creating works that are still performed today. It also saw the advent of Grand Opera typified by the works of Meyerbeer. The mid-to-late 19th century was a "golden age" of opera, led and dominated by Wagner in Germany and Verdi in Italy. The popularity of opera continued through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through to Puccini and Strauss in the early 20th century. During the 19th century, parallel operatic traditions emerged in central and eastern Europe, particularly in Russia and Bohemia. The 20th century saw many experiments with modern styles, such as atonality and serialism (Schoenberg and Berg), Neoclassicism (Stravinsky), and Minimalism (Philip Glass and John Adams). With the rise of recording technology, singers such as Enrico Caruso became known to audiences beyond the circle of opera fans. Operas were also performed on (and written for) radio and television.

Early performances of opera were too infrequent for singers to make a living exclusively from the style, but with the birth of commercial opera in the mid-17th century, professional performers began to emerge. The role of the male hero was usually entrusted to a castrato, and by the 18th century, when Italian opera was performed throughout Europe, leading castrati who possessed extraordinary vocal virtuosity, such as Senesino and Farinelli, became international stars. The career of the first major female star (or prima donna), Anna Renzi, dates to the mid-17th century. In the 18th century, a number of Italian sopranos gained international renown and often engaged in fierce rivalry, as was the case with Faustina Bordoni and Francesca Cuzzoni, who started a fist fight with one another during a performance of a Handel opera. The French disliked castrati, preferring their male heroes to be sung by a haute-contre (a high tenor), of which Joseph Legros was a leading example. Though opera patronage has decreased in the last century in favor of other arts and media, such as musicals, cinema, radio, television and recordings, mass media and the advent of recording have supported the popularity of famous singers such as Maria Callas, Enrico Caruso, Kirsten Flagstad, Mario Del Monaco, Franco Corelli, Kathleen Ferrier, Montserrat Caballé, Joan Sutherland, Birgit Nilsson, Nellie Melba, Rosa Ponselle, Beniamino Gigli, Jussi Björling, Feodor Chaliapin, "The Three Tenors" (Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras), and others.

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