10 Most Popular Mezzo Soprano Singers

Most Popular Mezzo Soprano Singers

With a vocal range lying between contralto and soprano voice types is mezzo soprano.

Artists with this voice type are characterized with a darker and heavier tone voice.

It’s different from a contralto because of its higher range.

Now, only women can be referred to as a mezzo soprano, while men countertenors.

In today’s article, we’re featuring the most popular mezzo soprano singers that you should know if you’re interested in their vocal range and sound.

If you’re ready, let’s begin.


Cecilia Bartoli

With the recent release “Queen of Baroque,” Bartoli is one of the most known mezzo-soprano artists of this time.

She’s an Italian recitalist and opera singer, who was born on June 4, 1966.  

Some of her most popular pieces include her unique music interpretation of Rossini and Mozart, and performances of both classical and Baroque music.

This artist is one of the few that can take and play mezzo and soprano roles excellently.

Also called the “Queen of Agility,” Bartoli has a superb coloratura skill and is also one of the most known opera singers.  

She came to significance in her early 20s as compared to others that are only able to achieve the required vocal maturity in their 30s.


Elīna Garanča

Born on September 16, 1976 in Rīga, Latvia, Elīna Garanča is another mezzo-soprano to include in this list.

The singer was born and raised in a musical family and has a musical background, having studied singing with Sergej Martinov at the Latvian Academy of Music (1996).  

She started her career at Südthüringisches Staatstheater (Meiningen), and then worked at the Frankfurt Opera.

Elīna Garanča, who won the Mirjam Helin Singing Competition (Finland), had an international breakthrough in 2003.

She performed “Annio” (Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito’s production) at the Salzburger Festspiele (2003); Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducted it.

Following this memorable performance, other engagements came next.

Bajazet, a Grammy Award winner that Fabio Biondi conducted, was a recording in which Elīna Garanča sang Andronico’s role.

She signed with Deutsche Grammophon in 2005.


Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

Born in San Francisco, California, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson is another mezzo soprano female singer to include in this list for her vocal supremacy and great tone.

The singer, who was born on March 1, 1954 and originally from San Francisco Bay Area, was a soprano and then later a mezzo soprano.

In the early beginnings of her career, she’s a violist and worked as a primary viola (San Jose Symphony).

She’s passionate in her craft and never missed a single moment to hone her talent; later, she studied voice at the well-known Boston Conservatory of Music.

She started professional singing in 1984, but it was only in 1985 when she came into prominence with their operatic debut.

This was after appearing in Peter Sellars’ Handel’s Giulio Cesare production (1985).

The artist’s debut performance was during the 1999 to 2000 season (Metropolitan Opera), in the Myrtle Wilson role in The Great Gatsby of John Harbison.

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who was recognized for her controlled style and beautiful singing tone, also had multiple modern and classical works, such as the works of Handel and Bach.

Indeed, she’s a “”a mezzo with the most potent voice since Callas,” as Charles Michener wrote it in his article.

She also posthumously received “Best Classical Vocal Performance” (Grammy Awards) for her Rilke Songs.


Katherine Jenkins

Emerging from Wales, UK and born on June 29, 1980, is another well-known mezzo soprano and a classical pop crossover singer.

She’s also known for her recorded and live performances of popular songs, hymns, musical comedies, and operatic arias.

When she’s 23, she signed a 7-figure record deal – the largest of its kind in the recording history of the UK.

Between 2004 and 2008, 6 out of 7 of her albums, in the classical charts, peaked at #1.

The mezzo-soprano artist also earned the recognition of being the fastest-selling for “Premiere,” her first album.   

Part of her growing list of achievements, she also won at the Classical BRIT Awards (2 consecutive awards), one for “Second Nature,” her second album, which placed #16 in the pop charts of the UK and was also “Album of the Year.”


Magdalena Kožená

She’s a Czech singer, who was born in Brno and had studied at the College of Performing Arts (Bratislava) and at the Brno Conservatoire.

She’s an established recital artist and major concert singer, and her excellent performance and recitals have brought her to London, Munich, Brussels, Sapporo, Tokyo, and Prague.   

Several remarkable debuts are included in Kožená’s operatic engagements, and this include in the title role Gluck’s “Orphée” at the Chatelet, Paris.

She also sang “Pelléas et Mélisande” for its centenary performance (Opera Comique under Minkowski)

A few of her recordings are Roman Motets and Italian Cantatas (Handel), Bach Arias, and one with Marc Minkowski for “Messiah.”

Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (French Government) is one of her most significant awards that she received in 2003.

The artist also participated in multiple recordings as well as had multiple appearances at Concentus Moraviae Festivals and at the Prague Spring.


Joyce DiDonato

The mezzo soprano singer is known and admired for her Mozart, Handel, and Rossini interpretations.

The American coloratura mezzo-soprano has performed with orchestras and companies in her career; in 2012, the singer won “Best Classical Vocal Solo” in the Grammys.

Whenever she sings, she captivates her audience.

She has won several recognitions, including Beverly Sills Award (Metropolitan Opera), and other honors.

Often referred to as having fearless technique by the critics, her performance is sometimes considered to be having catatonic depression, self-delusion, and playful eroticism characteristics.

DiDonato has risen to international fame in operas by Handel, Rossini, and Mozart, and a few world premieres.

But nevertheless, she has a growing discography that earned her different awards and recognitions.


Marilyn Horne

Often associated with Handel and Rossini music, Marilyn Horne was from Pennsylvania and was born on January 16, 1934.

Her 1st major professional engagement was when she dubbed Dorothy Dandridge’s singing voice in Carmen Jones.

She also had been a background singer for a few TV sitcoms and had recorded several hit songs of the early 1950s.  


Dame Janet Baker

She’s an English mezzo-soprano singer known in the concert, opera, and lieder spaces but is often associated with early Italian opera and baroque music as well as Benjamin Britten works.

Her colorful career spanned from the 1950s to the 1980s, and during this time was regarded and admired for her dramatic intensity and as an excellent singer and actress.

Baker, who had a popular portrayal “Dido,” had her outstanding performance as the tragic heroine ‘Les Troyens’ (Hector Berlioz’s magnum opus).

She’s also noted for her concert performances and interpretations of Edgar Elgar and Gustav Mahler.

The actress-singer, who was born in South Yorkshire, made her stage debut as Miss Róza in “The Secret” (Oxford University Opera Club) and later debuted at Glyndebourne.

She was associated with Dame Joan Sutherland, an Australian soprano, and they formed in Beatrice di Tenda of Vincenzo Bellini (concert version) at the Carnegie Hall in 1961.

Even if she’s most known for roles bel canto and opera seria, she also performed American music in most of her career, and this include contemporary music and popular songs.


Christa Ludwig

A German mezzo-soprano, Ludwig was born on March 16, 1928 and recognized for a multiple of performances, such as lieder, opera, and oratorio.

She also had religious works, including Passions, masses as well as solos, which is in the symphonic literature.

Ludwig was born to a musical family, with her father, Anton Ludwig, being an operatic administrator and tenor and her mother, Eugenie Besalla-Ludwig, a mezzo soprano herself.

Her role as ‘Dorabella’ in Così fan tutte in Lyric Opera of Chicago was her American debut.

In Le nozze di Figaro (1954), she made her debut as Cherubino at the Salzburg Festival, and until 1981, she also appeared there regularly.

She also snagged 121 performances until 1993.

Aside from operatic performances, she also gave recitals of Lieder as well as worked as a soloist with several orchestras, and a few of her admired performances, including Wolf, Brahms, and Schumann.


Anne Sofie von Otter

A concert recitalist and opera singer, Anne Sofie von Otter is often associated with trouser roles.

The Sweden-born singer was born from a diplomat father, Göran von Otter.

She made her operatic debut in Haydn’s Orlando paladino as Alcina back in 1983 when the Basel Opera engaged her.

The mezzo-soprano singer also excels not only with her vocal range but also in the masterpieces of Grieg, Wolf, Brahms, and Mahler recitals.

Myung-Whun Chung, Marc Minkowski, John Eliot Gardiner, William Christie, and Claudio Abbado are some of the conductors she has worked with.


Final Thoughts

There you have our list of the most notable mezzo soprano artists-singers of all time that you should know if you particularly love classical music.

Each of them has carved a name in their genre and for their musical prowess.

They deserve an applause and admiration from their fans and aspiring mezzo soprano singers.

Who among these mezzo soprano female singers do you think should be on #1? Tell us in the comments.


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