10 Greatest Sopranos of All Time

cedricfollyman
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.

I grow up with her music and as teenager I fall in love with her lovely voice

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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

BEAUTIFUL

The voice of heaven.the best hardest worker

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4 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.

111111

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.

Beverly Sills is my all-time favourite singer. Whether listening to her recordings, singing live or sharing a moment in passing conversation, I admire her singing, her musicality, her characterizations and above all, her humanity. she remains my all-time number one.

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5 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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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.

My fave. What a rich tone!

The voice of an angel -- absolute perfection.

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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

Strong and delicate voice

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

A singer with a wonderful and powerful voice. Its flexibility is impressive in terms of singing.

Blessed beyond belief...Voice floats like a butterfly

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.

GREAT SOPRANO.
GREAT OPERA SINGER.

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13 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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14 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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15 Barbara Bonney

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

The best American for sure.

16 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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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.

Incredible at nine years, better at 13, how good in the future?

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20 Luisa Tetrazinni
21 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...

Number One, hands down!

Agree with ±2

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22 Lily Pons

Absolutely beautiful voice and beautiful person.

Her voice is better than the clarinet...

23 Pumeza Matshikiza
24 Mirella Freni
25 Angel Blue
26 Lucia Popp

If the main thing is beauty of sound and purity of voice, this is THE goddess of singing... She possessed the most beautiful voice ever.

How ridiculous. This lady has to be in the top 3. The other two might be Sutherland and Janowitz. Kiri and Ileana are up there also. Popp is special though - and a real beauty.

Clearest and cleanest voice of them all!

She gives A voice to God

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27 Nellie Melba
28 Anna Moffo

Of the many sopranos I have heard over my 71 years, Anna Moffo had the clearest, most accurate, warmest, most 'open' voice. Her interpretations of the characters she played, were among the most musical and realistic of anyone else. She did receive some censure and criticism for her forays into the pop world, which in her day was anathema to an operatic career. Personally, I think it served to demonstrate her abilities beyond that of opera.

Charming. Magical voice.

Anna Moffo has been underrated for a long time. I totally agree with the comment "She is the best Violleta, Lucia, Butterfly, Rosina as well as Micaela. No one does better than her". Even more, in my opinion, Anna Moffo was the number 1 soprano in all the most popular Italian and French operas!

She is the best Violleta, Lucia, Butterfly, Rosina as well as Micaela. No one does better than her!

29 June Anderson
30 Sarah Brightman Sarah Brightman

I've heard them all. Sarah leaves them all for dead. She has sold more records than any soprano ever. Sarah has supreme presence and wonderful acting abilities.

SIMPLE PERFECT HIGH NOTE HITTING SOPRANO I EVER HEARD, but SHE GIVES MY EARS THAT.

Sorry Jackie you've got more to learn...Sarah would eat you alive

Sarah est la seule Soprano qui soit sortie des carcans de l'art classique pour y ajouter sa touche personnelle. Une merveille. Un véritable bijoux.

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31 Scarlett Quigley
32 Kathleen Battle

Perfect voice, never a strain, always beautiful, filled with feeling. Should be #1

Delicate, subtle, flexible, just brilliant

Amazing Voice Quality should be top 3

One of the most beautiful voice qualities of all time.

33 Sissel Kyrkjebø

I have never heard anyone like her, she sings out of her heart and soul and excels at any type of music she chooses. Wish we could see more of her in the United States

Just has to be one of the best- in voice and presentation

Sissel! aside from phenomenal her voice. she is a natural beauty and has a warm personality that makes her one of the best ever I come back for more

34 Cecilia Bartoli

Absolutley DIVA of our times!

A most exciting voice with good technique wide range and the very characteristic articulation of notes.
Trevor Ling

35 Yma Sumac Yma Sumac

Easy the best!

Much too low on this list. Should be ranked 1st. The 20th century greatest singer.

36 Charlotte Jaconelli

Very promising & young but professional voice.

37 Bidu Sayão

Very Best!

The best

38 Agnetha Faltskog Agnetha Faltskog

She is a true soprano. Listen to her when she is the lead singer in ABBA songs such as "SOS", "The Name of the Game", "Hasta Manana", " The Winner Takes It All", "One of Us" and more! Such a sweet voice!

She is a natural soprano! She should be in the Top 10! She doesn't need autotune and stays true to herself! - ivylee

39 Natalie Dessay

Far the best in the world!

Number one in the list!

Owww come on the mad scene from Lucia Di Lammermoor or the Queen of the night aria from the Magic Flute... Breath taking

40 Edda Moser

She has even more powerful voice than any of the previous listed sopranos!

I think her "Der Hölle rache" reigns supreme. Am I the only one?

Has the greatest interpretations of mozart's music...i think she's better than those known sopranos...

41 Amelita Galli-Curci

With regard to sheer technique, rare beauty of timbre, and particularly the art of natural singing, Galli-Curci is the greatest singer of her time and perhaps of all time.

42 Julie Andrews Julie Andrews Dame Julia "Julie" Elizabeth Andrews is an English film and stage actress, singer, author, theatre director and dancer.

Great actress with a good voice, but she really does not belong to the list of "greatest sopranos of all time". I love her songs and her performance, but she's in a different league.

Julie Andrews has an amazing voice. I would class her as number one! I love her songs from The Sound Of Music and My Fair Lady and Victor Victoria. Imagine having a beautiful Soprano range from D3 to high F above top C, F6! It is incredible how she sang the Polonaise from Mignon! I have a similar voice to hers, F4 to F6, but I am only nine years old I have a long way to go... she is number 1 Soprano of all time♡♥ good quality.

43 Kathryn Grayson

She had an absolutely charming voice, and her performance was mesmerizing.

44 Teresa Stich-Randall

One of the greatest - why are opera singers called 'item'?

One of the purest voices out there, always spot on, and with ravishing interpretations. Listen to her versions of "An die Musik" Haendel's "In Praise of music" and Bach's "Jauchzet Gott"

45 Gundula Janowitz

Not saying she is the best, but she deserves to be on the list. When people think of sopranoes, she is one of the first who comes to mind. You will have all heard her. She is the one who sings in the film The Shawshank Redemption - with Edith Mathis.

Got to be in any top three along with Popp and Sutherland.

One of the top 3 along with Popp and Sutherland.

Listen to her "Porgi amor" and you'll be upvoting her.

46 Pretty Yende

Breathtakingly beautiful voice. Charm and beauty! And she's Proudly South African - Daleen Kruger

Absolutely talented.

47 Cristina Deutekom

She had a unique voice! That is why she was so special! Very huge voice! Topknots and very beautiful deep low A

Excellent coloratura soprano, known for her Queen of the night in Mozart's The Magic flute

48 Mirusia Louwerse

Louwerse was born in Brisbane, Australia. Louwerse became the youngest ever winner of the Dame Joan Sutherland Opera Award.

If angles existed, this is the way they would sound.

49 Anne Sofie von Otter

Classy Swedish opera singer. Related to Swedish royalty.

Best mezzo of these days

50 Maria Stader

Best of the best. Lover her in Beethoven and Mozart.

Absolutely. In the top 10, I would say. A beautiful delicate voice well suited to Mozart and Handel.

This tiny Swiss soprano was best known for her delicacy of voice well suited to Mozart. Ms. Stader made several operatic appearances, most notably as the Queen of the Night in a Covent Garden staging of Mozart's "Magic Flute, " a work she also recorded with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Ernst Haefliger. Mozart's "Exsultate, Jubilate" was a particular specialty, and she performed it frequently in New York, with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of George Szell. Erformances of Mozart concert arias, and her solos in the composer's Masses were also highly regarded. In addition to Mozart, Ms. Stader's repertoire included works by Mahler, Alessandro Scarlatti, Gluck, Bruckner and Beethoven's Fidelio, and Christ on the Mount of Olives.

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List Stats

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

Top Remixes (6)

1. Jackie Evancho
2. Leontyne Price
3. Montserrat Caballé
KnightAtTheOpera
1. Joan Sutherland
2. Birgit Nilsson
3. Beverly Sills
hollywoodfan8
1. Joan Sutherland
2. Birgit Nilsson
3. Beverly Sills
voicemajor

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