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10 Most Popular Italian Opera Singers

Operas mesmerize the audience since the earliest composition “Dafne” by Jacopo Peri, whose libretto was composed by Ottavio Rinuccini in 1598; it’s a work that could be considered an opera.

An opera, which means opera in musica, or work in music, is a theatrical work composed of a booklet (libretto) or a dramatic text that’s been set to music and performed with costumes, scenery, and movement.

In this article, our focus is on one of the most important players in the operas, particularly the most popular Italian opera singers; no wonder, it’s because operas are Italian.

 

Andrea Bocelli

The most popular Italian singer, who lost his vision when only 12, was born on September 22, 1958, in Lajatico, Italy.

Bocelli, who has been considered the singer with the most pristine of all voices, is also a great songwriter and record producer that inspires more musicians in his time, then and now.

The best-selling artist, who has sold over 90 million records internationally, is also a multi-instrumentalist aside from having a distinct tenor voice.

Since 1982, he’s already recorded multiple solo albums – classical and pop, nine complete operas, and 3 greatest hits albums.

But did you know that Bocelli is also a crossover performer?

The classical singer crossed boundaries for making classical music known in the international pop scene. 

He’s also one of People Magazine’s “50 most beautiful people” in 1998.

The singer also had a duet with equally famous Celine Dion in the Quest for Camelot’s “The Prayer” song that won “Best Original Song” (Golden Globe Awards) as well as had been nominated for “Best Original Song” (Academy Awards).

The 1999 nominated singer “Best New Artist” (Grammys) also garnered a Guinness listing with his “Sacred Arias,” a classical album, while he held the US Classical Albums charts three leading positions.

On March 2, 2010, the singer was honored with a “Walk of Fame” star.

 

Luciano Pavarotti

The operatic tenor was born on October 12, 1935, in Modena, Italy. 

He was one of the most loved and recognized tenors in the operas.

Luciano Pavarotti is also considered one of the 20th century’s best tenors.

But aside from his achievements in the music industry, a lot of people do not know that Luciano Pavarotti had also been a humanitarian, having hosted different charity concerts to raise funds for UN causes.

During the latter parts of his career, he went into pop music, and this made him one of the best and most loved operatic tenors in the world.

Throughout his career, Pavarotti had multiple works, including solo arias and complete operas; the “King of the High Cs” also had a wonderful career for his worldwide popularity.

Born on June 4, 1966, Cecilia Bartoli, who is a recitalist and singer, is another not to forget when trying to listen to operatic singers, especially if you love the music of Handel, Bellini, Vivaldi, Mozart, and Rossini.

In 1995, the singer was appointed “Chevalier of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”, and in 1999 the “Commander of Monaco’s Order of Cultural Merit.”

Bartoli, who also received the “Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music” (Classic Brit Awards) in 2003, was also awarded the “Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music” (University College Dublin).

 

Enrico Caruso

One of the most known operatic tenors, Enrico Caruso was born on February 25, 1873, in Naples.

Throughout his career, Caruso had performed both in the Americas and Europe and in the early 1900s.

Caruso, who’s honored with Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, was one of the most popular among Italian singers with a career that spanned 25 years. 

He’s regarded to have a photogenic voice characterized for its power and manliness, while also being lyrical.

The Italian operatic tenor had different roles, including dramatic and lyric; he had also released 247 recordings (1902-1920), making him one of the most famous singers of his generation.

Over the years, many of his recordings remain to be available in their original issues even if more than a century has passed.

Even his unissued recordings have been remastered and reissued over the years.

But even if his recordings of complete operas are available since the early 1900s, the singer never participated in a complete recording.

 

Renata Tebaldi

Born on February 1, 1922, in Pesaro, Italy, Renata Tebaldi was a famous soprano singer that went to fame in the post-war period being a La Scala star.

The singer, who was also in the Metropolitan Opera, was a 20th-century singer that had roles in multiple dramatic repertoires and lyric roles.

Arturo Toscanini called her the “the voice of an angel” or ‘la voce d’angelo’ and was considered one of the world’s greatest performers that possessed an extraordinary operatic voice.

One of the richest and superb tones, her voice, during her time, was regarded as one of the most beautiful of the day as well.

 

Mirella Freni 

An Italian operatic soprano born on February 27, 1935, in the city of Modena, she had a very convincing aura when playing her role in opera, much so when she sang her part, inching every last piece of emotion to connect with her audience.

The works she had presented showed a great deal of compassion for her profession.

She has performed as Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohéme, with her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, and with her part in the Vienna State Opera, she was awarded her honorary degree, up until the 40th anniversary of her Met debut. 

Mirella was married to Nicolai Ghiaurov, who was a Bulgarian bass that performs with her on her shows,

Love indeed can be taken to the ends of the earth, and it reached The New York Times obituary where she was described as a ‘Matchless Italian Prima Donna’ in the article’s title. 

 

Renata Scotto 

A stylistic, dramatic, and musical soprano in the field of opera, Renata was born on February 24, 1934

She eyed at directing operas after retiring from singing in 2002. 

After her biggest breakthrough in 1957, she then continued her career and received the Opera News Award, Anton Coppola Award, Honorary Doctorate, two Emmys, and a lot more recognition, as a prodigy in her period. 

As an opera director, she did Madama Butterfly in several opera theaters, Bellini’s II Pirata, La Sonnambula, A La Traviata telecast and so much more. 

 

Carlo Bergonzi 

Born on July 13, 1924, Carlo Bergonzi was born in the surrounding area of Parma where he soon had his debut as a baritone at the age of 24. 

He then shifted his vocal preference, after realizing that he was better off as an operatic tenor, debuting in Bari at the Teatro Petruzzelli in 1951; after that, he sang in Rome, broadcasted a series of Verdi operas, had his La Scala debut and so much more.

In his obituary in The New York Times, it quoted Bergozni as a ‘natural singer in that everything he does seems right and inevitable, followed by 6 other descriptions. 

 

Giuseppe Di Stefano 

He was an Italian operatic tenor born on the 24th of July, 1921 in the village of Motta Sant’Anastasia, and he was called the ‘Golden Voice’, as he succeeded Beniamino Gigli.

His career lasted for more or less than 40 years from the 1940s to the 1990s when Giuseppe would be called Pippo by his audiences, fans, and friends.

He also performed in La Scala with different operas, may it be collaborations or solos. 

He died when he was 86, but his legacy lives on, being remembered by fans who love classical music and operas.

 

Giuseppe Taddei 

Born in Genoa in 1916, he performed on the opera stage as a baritone, performing in several operas made by different composers. 

He sang at the Rome Opera, had his professional debut in Wagner’s Lohegrin, appeared at the Vienna State Opera, with his American debut in the San Francisco Opera, and soon after with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and many more. 

Because of his superb voice, he was able to continue singing up until his elderly age when he would have a debut at the Metropolitan Opera.

Throughout his career,  he left behind multiple recordings, including the Leporello in Don Giovanni, before passing away on June 2, 2010. 

 

Licia Albanese 

Licia Albanese, an Italian-born American born on July 22, 1909.

She was a leading artist who made multiple recordings and received different honors.

She had her unofficial debut in the year 1934 when she took over a soprano’s role in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, placing it as one of her most successful accomplishments.

Her great legacy is what makes her such a famous opera singer, with more than 300 performances of Cio-Cio-San, more than 500 performances in different roles.

Who among these most popular Italian singers is your favorite?

Tell us in the comments.

Finally, spread the word and share this post on social media today!

 

References

  1.     https://www.britannica.com/biography/Luciano-Pavarotti
  2.     https://www.britannica.com/biography/Andrea-Bocelli
  3.     https://www.medici.tv/en/artists/cecilia-bartoli/
  4.     https://www.naxos.com/person/Giuseppe_di_Stefano/1463.htm
  5.     http://www.operanostalgia.be/html/taddei.htm
  6.     https://www.deccaclassics.com/en/artists/renatatebaldi/biography
  7.     https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/arts/music/l icia-albanese-exalted-soprano-is-dead-at-105.amp.html
  8.     https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/arts/music/l icia-albanese-exalted-soprano-is-dead-at-105.amp.html
  9.     https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-operastreams/articles/celebrating-renata-scotto/
  10. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/02/09/arts/music/ mirella-freni-dead.amp.html 

 

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