10 Greatest Sopranos of All Time

In your opinion, who do you think are the ten greatest soprano's of all time?

The Top Ten

1 Joan Sutherland

Joan Sutherland, or La Stupenda as she was called, has the most spectacular voice of all time. Even Pavarotti said she was the voice of the Century. If she had Callas' acting abilities, she would be greater than Callas.
Joan Sutherland's assets include:
1. Huge voice.
2. Breathtakingly beautiful voice when in her prime.
3. Arguably THE perfect trill up to high C.
4. Arguably the best scales and runs.
5. Arguably the best staccato.
6. Definitely the best high notes from high A to high E.

Absolutely, the greatest SINGER of all times... Not just soprano... GREATEST SINGER EVER.
She had one of the most beautiful voice I've ever heard. And I've heard them all. Her voice is HUGE, and she can do anything with it. Her trills rival a flute and you can hear two actual notes spinning very fast. ALL aspects of the art of the coloratura are handled with utter ease and textbook. She has zero rivals as a dramatic coloratura. Her legendary "wall of sound" just surrounds you even in the Hollywood Bowl. She can sing Wagner and Bellini. And when it comes to those notes from C6-E6(high C-high E natural), no one has such brilliance, beauty and gigantic in volume. We will never see the likes of La Stupenda again!
I love Callas but next to Sutherland, even Callas has to take second place.
You MUST hear Sutherland LIVE to hear the real thing. Her voice is that spectacular and HUGE.

Joan Sutherland IS the Absolute First Lady of opera... Prima Donna Assoluta. Honestly, she has the most brilliant voice and breath taking technique of all the great divas in this list.
Even though she may not be the best actress, her phenomenal voice more than make up for it.
She is the Empress of Opera, in my opinion. Thank you.

Sutherland is my all-time favorite. Her voice was huge and instantly recognizable for its unique, seamless beauty of tone, range, supreme technique, unparalleled trilling, control and coloring. Not noted for her acting skills (which improved with age, though if I want to see great acting I'll go to a play), she could create drama with her singing alone, and send chills down your spine with her incredible high notes and precise passagework. As much as I admire Callas (Sutherland's only rival), no other soprano voice has ever thrilled me as much as Dame Joan's. Don't agree? Listen to her rare recording of "Santo di Patria" on YouTube: You'll never hear anything to rival it.

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2 Jackie Evancho Jackie Evancho Jacqueline Marie "Jackie" Evancho is an American classical crossover singer who gained wide recognition at an early age and, since 2009, has issued an EP and five albums, including a platinum and gold album and three Billboard 200 top 10 debuts .

Ok, here is my opinion.
I am not an expert in music or singing, I only know what I feel.
I listen to many female artists from opera to pop.
Jackie's voice has something extra, something that sets it apart from others, regardless of the training and technical perfection reached.
In my opinion, Jackie Evancho has the greatest soprano voice today.

Wikipedia lists three child prodigies of voice: Beverly Sills, Julie Andrews, and Jackie Evancho. Jackie is the youngest person in history to go Platinum. Her career has just begun.

Being a great soprano does not equate being a great opera singer. That's a highly technical specialty. It's a vocal range, and this young lady covers it completely, with a timbre and vibrato (that varies with the piece she's singing) that is more pleasing to my ears than any other singer that I've ever experienced.

Not to take away from any of the other great sopranos past and present, but in my humble opinion, from listening and experiencing those great sopranos and to so many exquisite singers over the past several decades, Jackie Evancho is the one. The drop-to-your-knees in awe and admiration you just know is the best you have ever witnessed. We are so very fortunate to be alive at this time in history as this incredible voice.

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3 Montserrat Caballé

Caballe's voice is angelic. Her rendition of O Mio Babino Caro is absolutely flawless and is the best ever recorded - you would have to be a stone not to be moved by it! Other great arias include Ave Maria (Verdi) & Hijo de la Luna. There is not enough words to describe how exquisite her voice really is.


The voice of heaven.the best hardest worker

My favourite one !miss caballe you just don't know how dreamful how elegant yourself are

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4 Maria Callas Maria Callas Maria Callas, Commendatore OMRI, was a Greek-American soprano, and one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century. Many critics praised her bel canto technique, wide-ranging voice and dramatic interpretations.

She possessed an unrivaled ability to breath life into the music. Her extraordinary sense of timing, the nuanced treatment of each phrase, and her impassioned delivery find no equal. When you lay aside the traditional criticism and think about what matters most in music, Callas stands alone.

The reason I think maria callas is one of the greatest-if not the greatest-singers is that every time I listen to one her resital I feel so many emotions that I makes me think she cast a spell on me. I know that there might be a lot of good artists but its something about her-about her voice- that makes her special. With her voice she is able to make you understand or even feel some things and I strogly believe that that's the real purpose of every kind of art. To understand and To feel!

I was sitting at Starbucks having a afternoon coffee, listening to Maria Callas, namely La Sonnambula and La Mamma Morta... At one point, I closed my eyes, and nothing else mattered... Her emotional languish along with her superb vocals, transcended me into another place and time... I became overcome with emotion. No one can ever come close to Callas and her artistic renditions of the great classics... BRAVA!

Yes; a few of the other singers listed here had purer and surer tone, but none can/could match Maria for power and emotion! A dare you to listen to (the crappy recording of) her hitting the Aida-Gloria high E-flat and holding it for 20 seconds (in Mexico in the early 50's) and then NOT agree with me!

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5 Beverly Sills

Truly a great soprano & as a person. She had a way of singing to your soul in a genuine, sincere way. She portrayed her characters honestly, making them come to life. The ease with which she sang difficult passages was amazing. She could bring even the uneducated opera goer to love opera.

Most unqualified critics never heard Sills early in her career. What a pity! If you readers can, please find the earliest recording of her Baby Doe. Her matchles recording of Julius Caesar also puts her up there in the top five. What a pity she was shunned by the Met for far too long.


I am surprised that many do not recognize Beverly for the magnificent talent she possessed. The things this woman could do with a single scale. Truly a pioneer.

Better than Callas. Second to Sutherland.

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6 Birgit Nilsson

Her Wagner was in a class by itself.

Her voice is a laser beam, capable of surpass a big orchestra.

Her voice alone could light up the entire universe.

Voice and musical understanding was unique. Also her perfect control of the roles was fantastic. Listen to Brunhildes immolation scene from Götterdemmurung, You can here that the time of the gods are over. For ever.

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7 Leontyne Price

She could sing anything!

Her voice has a extra layer which makes it just that much richer than all others.

Unbelievable voice filled with passion that reached deep into the soul...A true diva

Agree - DIVA

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8 Renata Tebaldi

The most ravishingly beautiful voice ever. Perfect legato, perfect blending of registers and full bodied. Strong lower register, rich middle and dramatic, full top. Also possessed the beautiful pianissimo high notes in her early career. Although the high C became strained in her later career, she reworked her voice into a more dramatic one, with a very strong, mezzo sounding lower register, and Wagnerian weight. If only she had sang more Wagner and continued her career in the 70s as a mezzo (the Met offered her the chance but she declined). Still, the single most beautiful voice I have ever heard.

Tebaldi's voice is the most beautiful sound ever the world has ever known.

The voice of an angel -- absolute perfection.

My fave. What a rich tone!

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9 Kirsten Flagstad

Probaly the best norwegian soprano of all time

Greatest soprano voice of the 20th century. The greatest soprano in Wagner which is the toughest test for any singer.

Greatest soprano of the 20th century without a doubt. The supreme singer of Wagner which is the toughest test for any singer.

The best Wagnerian soprano of the 20th Century; she could shatter glass with her voice. Ring of the Nibelung along with Tristan und Isolde are must haves in any opera music library.

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10 Jessye Norman

In my opinion she is number 1 simply the most wonderful voice in my humble opinion.

Blessed beyond belief...Voice floats like a butterfly

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The Contenders

11 Kiri Te Kanawa

I think in terms of vibrato and terms of training she had the best voice. And she also had superb acting skills, but she lacked variety in repertoire and her voice got lighter as she got elder and more frail. But in her hayday amazing.

Listen to her Butterfly!

The most beautiful voice in recording history.

Glorious, always my favorite soprano.

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12 Sumi Jo

Her renditions of the bel canto repertoire are really amazing. Her coloratura is very precised and clear. Her rendition of offenbach and lakme are really superb putting her own emotions and colors to every phrase she sings. She is probably one of the best sopranos today.

Her voice is rare and unique among other opera singers who I know.

She has a very clear and delicate voice yet with lots of volume. Her singing technique is superb and engages listeners with the song's emotions.


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13 Angela Gheorghiu

Considered best contemporary voice in the world

Beautiful, delicate, feminine... Great voice and presence!

Mrs. Angela Gheorghiu has both a divine voice and a charming presence. Simple as that!
God bless her mother and father of raising her and all the professors and teachers who make her shine even more!

Simply the best.

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14 Anna Netrebko Anna Netrebko

Anna Netrebko is up there with the great sopranos. She's got this roch fullness in her voice, the warmth of a mezzo and the register of a coloratura.

Absolutely magnificent

Absolutely brilliant

She is # 1!

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15 Renee Fleming

Renee Fleming is like Mario Lanza and Placido Domingo. She can sing anything and her voice gives me shivers up my spine. Fantastic control and so much feeling in her singing and what a range. I am Australian and feel that Joan Sutherland is not even close to Renee. She should be right at the top of this list

Renee Fleming is in my opinion the best ever. Her control is fantastic and you can feel what she is singing. I have had 4 years of classical training myself and have never heard a soprano like her. Forget Joan Sutherland, you can't even tell what language she is singing in.

Renee fleming beats everyone on this list. You'd have to be deaf not to agree. It's insane she isn't on the top list. By the way, Beverly Sills is recorded singing higher than Joan Sutherland. Sills goes all the way up to F5.

Modern classic!

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16 Barbara Bonney

I like her ave maria it's the best cover of ave maria

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17 Victoria de Los Angeles

WHAT? I can't believe this! Ms De Los Angeles should be at least in 4 place. Who is voting here? I guess young people, who vote famous names and not really good singers...

One of the most even lyric soprano voices. A perfect Marguerite.

The best ever with a warm and powerful voice - far far superior to the unpleasant metallic and tart sound of Callas.
The best ever again!

She had the best voice. Jesus...17th?

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18 Yvonne Kenny
19 Amira Willighagen

Amira was born with a naturally rich and powerful voice, and through her passion for opera arias at such a young age, she learned to control and use it to deliver a passionate but controlled performance where to use her own words she - 'gets lost' in a song - and take the listener with her in a very emotional but contained manner. At 13 her voice has only begun to mature but already hints of the possibilities of a fully mature exceptionally beautiful voice and her maturing capability to use it promises only further unforgettable performances. Her progress to date is incredible.

Amira has a naturally gifted voice which, together with careful training, is developing into a fine operatic facility. She produces a lovely quality of tone throughout her range, with just sufficient vibrato to colour her notes. So many sopranos use far too much vibrato, in my opinion. Amira is still only 13, but if her voice continues to mature as she grows into adulthood, she could become one of the finest sopranos of all time. I am following her progress with keen interest.

Such a beautiful voice, I never get tired of listening to her. And an engaging personality too. Her first love is still opera music, and she is a hard worker at learning. With a love of putting drama and emotion into her singing, she has great potential (now just 13) for performing in full operas eventually, as well as singing in concerts - which she already does with great success.

I thing She is already the best, She has somenthing extra that allows her to be compared with Maria Callas or Renata Tebaldi. She will enter in the "La Scala" of Milan and she overtrown Th e Throne that currently belong to Maria Callas. She has just the last test to over take. Sing " Casta Diva".

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20 Elizabeth Shwarzkopf

The best lyric soprano. The way she give different lives to every word that she sings.

Seriously dude, Jackie Evancho #1, the great Maria Callas #3 and Shwarzkopf 19? I'm dumbfounded...

Her countess almaviva is so mesmerizing and so is her marschallin

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List Stats

1,000 votes
72 listings
8 years, 199 days old

Top Remixes (6)

1. Joan Sutherland
2. Birgit Nilsson
3. Beverly Sills
1. Joan Sutherland
2. Birgit Nilsson
3. Beverly Sills
1. Barbara Bonney
2. Yvonne Kenny
3. Renata Tebaldi

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