Top Ten Greatest Male Tenors

The Top TenXW

1Jonathan Antoine

Jonathan Antoine will go down in history, no doubt. His ability to touch people's souls already at such a young age is incredible. Jonathan sings and becomes the music. He is unaware of many of his reactions while singing because he goes to a different place. He is not singing for fame, or money, or any other ego boosting reasons. He loves to sing. Period. Who better to sing the best music ever written? I don't think there are words to describe how magnificent he will be in a few more years as he matures and trains more.

Last year I was looking for inspirational videos to share with my students. I found the BGT auditions. As with the music that Jonathan and Charlotte create, the emotion, the story, is truly amazing. The fact that they are teenagers blew my mind. I had to share not only the YouTube clips but anything I could find. My students and I even bought their CD for the classroom.

The pure sound, the gift Jonathon has is not just his voice, it is also the emotion, the emote, he sends with ever note. The message of love, friendship, humility, sorrow, loyalty, all at 18 will have tears streaming down your face.

He shares himself, not just his performance but everything adding an instant connection. I am eagerly waiting for the 2nd CD and hope to see him perform in person someday. I am tearing up just writing this post, picturing Johnathon on stage lost in his music, watching as he feels the music, opens his body, you can see it, you can feel that the sounds are coming and they do, ...more

Jonathan is unique in every way. His sound is rich and powerful and full of emotion! People are drawn to him not only because of his amazing voice but also because he is an amazing and courageous person. Although he possesses this phenominal talent he is humble, gentle and compassionate. He brings all of these things into his performances which makes the listener feel connected to him in a way that is deeper and more intimate. Jon shares himself in his song and that sets him apart from the other performers of his time and even though he is young and just beginning to make an impact, his presence will grow and be felt for years to come

Jonathan is still so young. At only 19, he will still be a big star 50 years down the road, at least. Not only does he have a great voice, but he is such a sweetheart. It is an honor and a joy to listen to him sing.

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2Luciano Pavarotti

Listen to his debut in 1961 singing "Che Gelida Manina" from "La Boheme". At 26, his performance left the audience gasping. The true maestro!

One of the best of the entire 20th century. The power and range of his voice is just superb. No one of his day could compare to him. His high C's were untouchable.

Best voice I've ever heard. Without the sound quality to appreciate the voices of past greats, none come close to the voice that resonated from the pav. Domingo hasn't a patch on him and carreras isn't even worth mentioning. When I was a boy my dad used to say that pav was in his own class. Now I'm old enough to appreciate his voice, I can only wholeheartedly agree

Listening to many of Pavarotti's performances still gives me goosebumps.

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3Placido Domingo

Unbelievable dramatic range. The most versatile, by far, on this list. With a drop dead gorgeous velvety tone and great intensity. His forays into popular music have also been successful. He's been singing for almost 50 years!

I voted him because undoubtedly he has ( or used to have) a very beautiful voice and sang in many genres succesfully. There are better tenors on cds, but on stage there isn't. He has always cared his voice unlike other tenors who sang well for 10 years, but today their voice is over ( Alvarez, Cura etc)

I love PD. His velvety voice, his artistry, his good taste, his manliness and tenderdess which is a rare combination not found in any other tenor... To me, he is the best!

Wonderful voice, the best!

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4Enrico Caruso

Bjorling, a darn good tenor, but not even in the same league as Caruso! Other top tenors not mentioned are: J. McCormack, B. Gigli, M. Del Monaco, G. Di Stefano, F, Corelli, PS Groban, Safina, and Bocelli are not real Tenors, they are good male voices!

No doubt the greatest tenor of all times. When I listen to Pavarotti or Di Stefano and then I turn to Caruso is like powerful fresh air from the Mediterranean see...

He had a sense of dramatic power in his tone and his expression can not be matched! This tenor didn't even really perform with a full voice high C but is the greatest one!

No one will ever be better an him.

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5Andrea Bocelli

What the hell? How can't he be #1?
He has a great voice, the best I've ever heard in my life, every time I listen to his songs I cry.

Are you kidding? This guy is an Italian pop lounge singer that hit it big because he is decent at singing Italian pop lounge songs and is blind. His vibrator is awful, his voice is weak. Any note above A he goes into falsetto, and without amplification and a microphone he can't get over the orchestra. He is popular because he is good at Lounge singing and making 30-50 yo women cry, because he sings of lost love. He has NO voice for Opera! He belongs next to a piano in a bar.

There are many technically superior tenors but Andrea's voice is more pleasing to the ear in most songs, even arias. I can listen to him for hours without ear fatigue.

Totally love andrea's honeyed tones, vesitility in so many genres, not so crazy about his singing in english, endearing but the accent is terrible! Love his opera, arias, sacred music, also great pop/popera voice. Adore any duets he does with the ladies, he, s such a romantic old guy, like his male duets too, never feels the need to show off or compete. He's also very sexy, yummy!

He sings in many languages including mine which is French I just heard him sing on Stevie wonders tribute and sang it beautifully in English, remembers every words! He is so versatile, can sing opera and ballads beautifully. I have seen him live, and my only comment is that I wish he would wear dark glasses.

He gotta be number 1. I tell you!

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6Piero Barone

Such power he has in his voice for being so young! Most young tenors do not have his ability until much older. He has it now and is only going to improve with time like the finest world class wine.

Piero is AWESOME! What a gorgeous voice, so developed for someone his age! He can sing opera or he can sing popular versatile! He could walk right into an opera and begin singing and fit right in with no problem!

In the past 10 months his voice seems unleashed. His singing is effortless. At 20 his work is beginning.

I just love watching and hearing him sing. My heart fills with joy when I hear him for his voice is so powerful.

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7Mario Lanza

If you're judging only on freedom from technical errors, the magic Mario doesn't rank near the top. But if you're judging by rich, highly-versatile beautiful vocal tonality, especially in the mid-tenor range where most tenor singing occurs, Mario's voice is, among those we have well recorded (doesn't include Caruso), the standard by which all others must be judged. For instance Pavarotti's highs were wonderful but it midrange was unexceptional, not particularly resonant and weak in harmonics. Lanza's midrange was incredibly great yet his highs sounded clear while retaining nicely balanced harmonics where most tenors loose them and sound strident by comparison. On balance, if judging by VOICE alone, Mario Lanza is still the best I've ever heard during the last 50 years of being a tenor.

A very short lived career that still resulted in a considerable amount of influence to some more recent operatic singers (i.E. pavarotti, Carreras, Domingo). He had a demanding presence, with emotion and power driven renditions of arias that stand their own with some of the greats like: Caruso, Gigli, Bjorling, Del Monaco, etc.

I think each generation has its heroes in music. Those who grew up in the fifties knew the voice of Mario Lanza and those of the next generation that heard his voice on Reader's digest albums that are parents played knew it as well. I was one of these and in my humble opinion I have never heard a voice so golden as Mario Lanza. As Pavarotti said of him "fantastic, his voice was fantastic." I agree!

Greatest lyric tenor

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8Alfie Boe

Alfie has great warm notes in the middle and lower register with a lyric, flexible upper register. His versatility in singing all genres of music from opera (in which he trained at the Royal College of Music, National Opera Studio, and the Royal Opera House) to singing Elvis at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee shows the variety of his repertoire and his belief that there are only two kinds of music, good and bad, and he wants to sing the good stuff. He continues to defy expectations and reach more audiences with his remarkable voice. His superlative starring role as Jean Valjean in the 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables helped redefine expectations. This past year, he was invited to sing "Bring Him Home" with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and at the Washington D.C. memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the US Capitol. Finally, listen to his "Alfie Warbles a Bit" YouTube version of "Nessun Dorma" and you will hear a tenor of the highest quality.

I love Alfie Boe's voice and he is such a skilled performer. He engages and holds his audience whatever he sings. Recently made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music he dedicated nearly 20 years to training that voice and working at perfecting his natural and God given talent. He has appeared on the Opera stage worldwide and received much deserved glowing reviews. But as important as those accolades are - when he sings he stirs the heart. And that is the sign of a truly great tenor.

The clarity of Boe's voice whether in higher or lower register is outstanding - his voice also has a flexibility which enables Alfie to use in all the many genres of music in which he is interested. His voice has now developed a richness and warmth which has invested his fine lyric tenor with even more intensity, so important when singing classical music or indeed any other style. His lead performances in La Boheme, Pearlfishers and other operatic roles have won him plaudits although it is probably his performance in that most operatic of musical theatre pieces Les Mis for which he is best known, having won a 4 minutes standing ovation when he first performed in it.

Alfie Boe is outstanding. His warmth, diction and all registers of a tenor are superb. Yes, he has a God given talent, but he has worked hard to hone it and is continuing to do so. We are so lucky to have him. You can not beat his charisma.

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9José Carreras

Slim and very good looking, which was highly unusual for tenors in his era, Jose Carreras epitomised the romantic hero. His deeply moving, sincere singing always touches you. Once someone had described him as having a 'voice of extraordinary beauty'. I could not agree more with this. What he had sang from his soul remains at an unreachable level of appeal to opera lovers.

His incomparable velvet voice. Even his late recordings sound in a very elegant, deep and sincere way. I also like his passion in each song, that sounds like it is done the last time forever. These things are much more important than only high notes, that most critics like ro mentione while talk about Carreras.

Most of Carreras opera performances set a standard of pure perfection, with his expressive phrasing, laser-precise timing and appealing voice. And, you cannot help but compare every other performance you come across to his one, and measure all the rest by how close they come to his interpretation of ultimate beauty.

A voice of extraordinary beauty, as one expert said about this tenor. What Jose Carreras has sang well remains a standard of ultimate perfection for opera lovers to this day. Great appealing voice, both tender and masculine, velvety and majestic, you cannot get enough of his singing.

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10Ignazio Boschetto

Ignazio is 19 years old, and has nothing but a great future ahead of him. He's been singing professionally since he was 14 years old. His voice sounds crystal clear, like a body of water that you can see the bottom of even though it is miles away.

Ignazio has the most glorious lyric tenor voice! He is one-third of the Il Volo, a group which, once you hear them, you will not be able to enjoy any other nearly as much. Ignazio Boschetto is a name we will hear for many, many years to come.

Ignazio Boschetto has a voice like the clear tones of a French horn. If you hear him sing without seeing him you will expect to see a man of 45 not a teenager of 19. His career is in it's infancy and there is no limit to what he will achieve. He is part of the classical pop trio, IL VOLO, from Italy. His voice is magical.

Awesome and handsome! Him voice is really amazing!

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The Newcomers

?Vernon Midgley

Vernon Midgley followed his father, Walter Midgley into the ranks of great British Tenors. He famously dubbed for actor Ned Beatty in the charming but fictional biopic Movie of Joseph Locke, "Hear My Song". Very convincingly, too!
Shortly before his retirement, he, along with his equally talented soprano sister Marietta, came to perform at Darlington (England). It was, for me, a privilege to be present to at last hear his fine, distinctive tenor that I'd only heard previously on the radio or, as stated, as "the voice of" on film.
I hope this prompts others to add some other great British (actual) tenors from a past era. David Hughes, anybody? Or what about David Whitfield? If Boe and Watson are in, then Hughes and Whitfield should be, as should John Hanson!

?Josef Locke

I wouldn't have bothered adding this singers name to a list that includes Lanza, Pavarotti and Domingo. But he is (was) certainly at least on a parr with Harry Secombe. He certainly should appear on this list above some of the lesser "classical" vocalists who have been added. Many will agree that Locke's was a thoroughly pleasing, true tenor voice owned by a real man with a talent to entertain.

The Contenders

11Rolando Villazon

Of the younger school this voice is currently my favourite - the emotion, the passion he brings to the fore is, for me, outstanding and I consider his to be a fine instrument.

Glorious voice, amazing interpreter of character.

Has magical charisma as well as one of the most beautiful voices - his passion for music is always there. Viva Villazon!

The best tenor voice and wonderful actor.

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12Josh Groban

Although Josh Groban has considered himself from his early training a Baritone, he has proven unequivocally to own both the exacting flexibility and control to easily and naturally perform any and all tenor works. Indeed, the charismatic draw of his romantic modern stylings grow with every performance and recording. He cannot, will not be left out, indeed it is the future of great voice, meeting pop, rock, latin, and so may other rhythms of the world. His musical courage grows, as does the recognition of a gift we see perhaps once in every fifty years.

I think that if opera has any chance of continuing in the generations to come it will depend on singers like Josh Groban. He brings a fresh perspective on what some people might say is a dying musical art form. He could sing a shopping list in Italian and still take your breath away!

His voice is hard to categorize, is a large scale and it is extra-terrestrial. For me, amazing in every way. I always thought that Josh sings baritone. It does not matter, it is a great performer all kinds of music.

Very enjoyable to see his performance and ease he has with the audience and other singers.

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13Jussi Björling

For those interested in tenors and who was/is best, I suggest getting Stephen Hastings (Editor of Musica since 12 years) book "The Bjorling Sound" from 2012. In the book he sincerely analyzes and discusses all the best tenor voices 1850-2012 and compares Jussi Björling's voice with Caruso's, Gigli's, Pavarotti's di Stefano's.. And many more. Who was/is best then? , answer is naturally, that not one single person performed best at each and every recording. For sure Caruso, Björling, sometimes Pavarotti, di Stefano have left the best recordings to the afterworld.
The Björling Sound, I.E. the purity of the voice, its high tones, flawless shifts, and the fragile voice, often leaves listeners in a state of deepest emotion.
To this end, many of the names on the list, is, according to me, simply a reflection of young enthusiastic (nothing wrong in that) lack of knowledge.
B Andersson

To be honest, Pavarotti has no emotional effect on me. Pavarotti has a lot of power but lacks in dynamics and sensibility, rather boring really. Jussi Björling on the other hand gives me the shivers every time.

For tonal beauty, dramatic intensity and overall nobility of phrasing, glorious high range - Björling is as close to perfection as we can hope to have in this world. As Garrison Keillor has written (in one of his Minnesotan moods),
"What was most real was something missing from my life that was intimated in great music. I would look up from my desk to hear Jussi Bjoerling sing “Nessun dorma” from Turandot and suddenly know that my life lacked nobility and purpose. "

Bjørling is in my opinion the best ever. He hits the notes perfectly with an ease that makes you relax and just take in the music.

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14Franco Corelli

Hearing live most of the greatest tenors in the last fifty years, Franco Corelli at his best, was in a class of his own. There are great tenor voices and then there was Corelli's. Do yourself a favor and listen to some of Corelli's great recordings, and even better, his live performances. If you're unfamiliar with his voice you will understand what I mean.

Unfortunately for many, the voice of Corelli is unknown! Music is such a subjective choice as to what one likes to hear in a voice. Having listened to opera for nearly 60 years, I can tell you that certain tenors lend themselves best to certain operas. If you truly want to hear the beautiful power of Corelli's voice, then listen to his role in "Andrea Chenier". His mastery of this opera has never been matched!

By any measure this list is hackneyed and bizarre. NO ONE matched Corelli's vocal athleticism, his fire in the blood intensity and fearless attack with high risk to achieve with consummate technique what is aberrant, electrifying and powerhouse glorious in the moment. That is where art needs to be.

These children above great masters like corelli? Must be some joke, or popularity contest.

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15Sean Panikkar

Sean Panikkar has the voice of an angel, which is only fitting because he IS an angel on earth. In his voice you hear the voice of God, in his eyes you see the light. His voice is one for all tenors to aspire to, and his character one that all should aspire to.

He is not only an incredibly talented young man but he exhibits such humility, thoughtfulness, and gentlemanly characteristics in all that he does. An outstanding young man who just happens to be one of the very best tenors to enrich our lives.

Look into Sean's eyes when he is singing and you'll see how much it means to him. He exudes joy from his music, not only to himself but to everyone who listens to it. I get chills when I listen to him-especially when he sings classical music. He has a gorgeous voice like no other.

His voice is like melting chocolate!

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16Nicola Gedda

Fantastic technique and versatility.

Gadda is still alive, born 11 July 1925. And he was marvelous!

His voice was glorious. By the way - he is Nicolai and not Nicola.

The best tenor ever! A true mastersinger.

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17Fritz Wunderlich

Definitely the best tenor on the list! His beautiful recordings of the Mozartian tenor arias have no equal! And, unlike the Italians, he manages to go high without sounding like his balls were cut off a true male voice. Another tenor not mentioned, and worth mentioning, is Frank Kelley, superb with both Bach and Mozart!

Regarding lyric tenors one cannot but admire Wunderlichs artistry, his expression and also technical excellence. To make a list of the "best tenors" is quite ambivalent as there are different "prerequisites" for different composers. Wunderlich and Mozart fit perfectly, whether Wunderlich and Wagner would have matched no one can say...

Famous for his interpretations of Lieder. No one on this list sang Schubert and Schumann better than him. Please listen to "Dichterliebe" or "Die schoene Muellerin". Especially enjoyable is his brilliant articulation, which makes every word of the text understandable, which is rare and not emphasized enough with singers. Comprehensible singing is very important!

The best ever, period!

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18Russell Watson

The first time I played his CD, The Voice, in the parking lot of a new Border's Store, I just sat there and cried! The first violin notes of Nella Fanticia gripped me and then Russell, s voice. Yes, others are excellent tenors, but Russell got into my emotions and heart. His voice really ministered to me. He will always be my favorite tenor. And his story makes it even more fabulous. There is hope for anyone with talent like that. It is just too bad he was so ill for so long. He is still so very popular in the UK... Always sold-out concerts. A long way to travel for concerts from the USA, but well worth it.

Russell is an INSPIRATION to us all and his Voice is now Better Than EVER.. He most definitely should be on the list.. At the RAH in 2012 he did two Concerts.. One in the afternoon, for fans who could not be there in the evening.. Both were SOLD OUT... On Stage he gives his all.. And is sometimes funny with it, keeping us captivated, through out.. If you read his Book.. Finding My Voice.. You will know what he has been through and come out " TOPS ".. He puts so much Passion into his Voice, whatever he sings... RUSSELL IS ONE IN A MILLION..

Very glad Russell's fans have been alerted to this poll and have got him on the list and hopefully more will follow - insulting he wasn't on it to start with! I've been a fan right from the beginning and seen him live countless times. His voice is just sublime, there's no-one to match him in my opinion and no-one else could touch my heart & soul like he does. Every concert is a special experience. Russell's an amazing person as well as an amazing tenor and is at last being referred to as a "national treasure"!

Wonderful, I love him

V42 Comments
19Josh Page

I knew he was going to be a star from the moment he was pulled on stage by Josh Groban, his amazing vocals were even noted in the New York Times review of this concert. He is an incredibly versatile performer and can go from singing opera to classical crossover and then rock/pop with his brother Zach in their group Brothers Page. I've seen him perform with Jackie Evancho and their rendention of the prayer is my all time favorite duet! I'm thrilled he has joined forces with Sean Pannikar and Fernando Varela as Forte is now my favorite tenor group, their voices blend into the most amazing harmonies! Josh Page is incredibly gifted and talented and at only 23. I'm looking forward to watching his talent develop and his career soar!

When Josh Groban called him up on stage, people were amazed that he sounded just like him! He founded the crossover group Forte that was a finalist on America's Got Talent. Now, Forte has released their first CD and performed at Carnegie Hall. A very talented young man who is on his way up!

Josh's voice has just become better and better as time has passed! I have watched him on YouTube and his beautiful voice has made me cry. He sings with such passion and emotion that you can feel it every time you hear him!

Gifted with a wonderful powerful voice and is at ease on stage alone or with others and loves to involve the audience through a great good sense of humor.

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20Fernando Varela

Great range - strong in the low notes and beautiful in the highest ones. But in addition to his technical skills, especially loved is his unique style. Into every performance, every song, he puts his heart and soul. He's a Latino, with that open, unabashed emotional expression - beautiful singing from a true romantic.

Awesome tenor and member of group Forte who came in 4th on America's Got Talent. He exhibits the highest of standards in all aspects of his life!

Beautiful, expressive, uplifting tenor who you want to listen to non-stop. As one of the crossover group FORTE, he is part of the magic when their voices come together.

Amazing spinto tenor, very expressive, beautiful voice

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List StatsUpdated 30 Nov 2015

13,000 votes
137 listings
6 years, 249 days old

Top Remixes (45)

1. Luciano Pavarotti
2. Placido Domingo
3. Jonathan Antoine
1. Luciano Pavarotti
2. Jonathan Antoine
3. Andrea Bocelli
1. Franco Corelli
2. Mario Del Monaco
3. Luciano Pavarotti

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