Top 10 Greatest Sopranos of All Time

In your opinion, who do you think are the ten greatest sopranos of all time?
The Top Ten
1 Joan Sutherland Joan Sutherland (November 7, 1926 - October 10, 2010) was an Australian operatic dramatic coloratura soprano, known for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s to the 1980s. She was the first Australian to win a Grammy Award in 1962.

I have been listening to her magnificent voice for over forty years and all I can say it is uncanny. There are those that would liken her to some of the greatest singers in history but no one has ever been able to reach the stratospheric heights that Dame Joan achieved. She was able to achieve vocal acrobatics with her voice (The Bell Song) that has never been achieved by another singer and her bel canto mastering sets her apart from anyone else that has attempted it except Marilyn Horne. The Golden age of Opera was the period that Sutherland, Horne and Pavarotti sang as an ensemble, never to be matched or duplicated. We were so lucky to hear and see them before Joan and Luciano left us. Thank you for the most incredible music we will ever hear.

2 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.

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!

3 Jackie Evancho Jacqueline Marie "Jackie" Evancho is an American classical crossover singer who gained wide recognition at an early age. Since 2009, she has issued an EP and eight albums, including a platinum and gold album, and three Billboard 200 top 10 debuts. Evancho's latest album 'The Debut', was her eighth consecutive... read more

No one person can hear every singer throughout history. But I've listened to thousands of them for many decades of following music. Jackie is not only the best I've ever heard she is By FAR the best I ever heard. She has a soft beautiful lower range, but can go into high notes easily without getting shrill or harsh. She is the best I ever heard that can sing anything from opera arias to Pop to Broadway to movie songs to classical. She is amazing. Go check her out on youtube by starting with 'All of the Stars', 'May it Be' 'The Lord's Prayer', Nessun Dorma' 'Lovers' 'Apocalypse'. You can't find another singer that can do all those as good as her.

4 Montserrat Caballé

Opera is show... And she has given more spectacular moments on stage than any other singer. Without any doubt, the most beautiful voice in the recorded era, just hearing the sound is tantalizing, irregular interpreter, but pure magic.
Bolena, Devereux, Don Carlo, Lucrezia, Traviata, Salome, Norma, Pirata... Look for the magic there...

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.

5 Birgit Nilsson

Birgit Nilsson is without any doubt the greatest soprano singer we have seen overall. Her capacity doesn't only fullfil being a true Wagnering but her way of mastering Verdi and Puccini speaks for itself. Let's be honest. Is there any other one who have done the journey and deliveried full satisfaction to the Opera world as La Nilsson had done! - In my book - No!

Greatest Wagnerian of All Time. Had a voice that could shatter glass, and
A dynamic personalty. Saw her in Electra, Salome, Isolde, and three rings at
The Beyreuth festival, saw Electra and Salome at Met, and her Electra was

6 Leontyne Price

No one was more exciting. No one was more artistic. No one had a more beautiful sound. No one was close.

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

Beauty from top to bottom. Clear in the high register. Smoky in the low register. Unique sound

7 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...

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!

Deserves to be here. One of the greats, and will never be forgotten.

8 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.

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.

9 Kirsten Flagstad

No one had the seamless voice she possessed. From bottom to top there were no distinct registral changes. Absolutely had the greatest vocal line in history. The other singers on this list should take notice. She carressed every note, never a harsh sound. A voice lesson for us all.

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.

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

10 Lucia Popp

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.

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.

I cannot see past Lucia Popp as the very best ever. Mozart would have loved her

The Newcomers

? Grace Moore
? Leyla Gencer
The Contenders
11 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.

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 very talented and well trained, so hers can be regarded as the masterpiece instrument of voice: One of the most qualified coloratura in the world now!

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.

13 Jessye Norman

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

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

Rich resonant voice. Distinctive sound.

14 Margaret Price
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.

16 Angela Gheorghiu

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!

Mrs Gheorghiu and Mrs. Netrebko should have been way higher on this list!

Seeing her in concert, was the musical experience of my life!

17 Anna Netrebko Anna Yuryevna Netrebko is a Russian operatic soprano. She holds dual Russian and Austrian citizenships and resides in Vienna, Austria, and in New York City.

Purest voice I've heard, along with Dame Joan Sutherland (definitely No. 1) and Leontyne Price!
Never appears to be in trouble pulling any note and/or velocity! Love her acting ability also!
Would love her to come to New Zealand, along with Rolando Villazon; however I don't know whether we would have a venue large enough to accommodate all those wishing to attend such a concert. One can only wish for a miracle. Has Anna ever sung 'Tosca', because she seems to sing 'Puccini' with interpretation very easily. If so, I would love to know how to get my hands on a copy!
As you can probably tell, I, along with a multitude of others, love very much to listen to 'Anna'! Absolutely a delight and a privilege.

John Bary

18 Amira Willighagen Amira Willighagen is a Dutch soprano singer who won the sixth season of Holland's Got Talent in 2013 at the age of 9.

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.

19 Kiri Te Kanawa

She is the probably the best of the four here, but there are so many other great sopranos like Gundula Janowitz, Lucia Popp, Maria Staeder and Erna Berger. There are many many others also. Just because I haven't mentioned them doesn't mean they are not great or even the best.

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.

20 Luisa Tetrazzini

Coloratura incredibly accurate. A shame modern recording techniques were not around when she was.

21 Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

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...

22 Emma Kirkby
23 Mirella Freni
24 Pumeza Matshikiza
25 Edita Gruberova
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