Famous Female Opera Singers

The world of opera has produced many female opera singers over the decades. Some began as singers in a choir, others through competitions, still others yet as apprentices. Over the course of their long careers, these singers have performed the works of artists such as Bellini, Handel, Stravinsky, Bizet, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi.

Each has her own story, from making those first night debuts gracing the stage of magnificent opera houses, such as the Metropolitan Opera House, Sydney Opera House, La Scala and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Famous Female Opera Singers

  • Adelina Patti: Born in Italy in 1843, Adelina Patti made her stage debut in 1859. Two years later, she singing at the famous Covent Gardens. Through her long career, Patti interacted with many high-ranking political officials, including Abraham Lincoln, Maximillian of Mexico, Tsar Alexander of Russia, Franz Joseph of Austria and Queen Victoria.
  • Nellie Melba: Born in 1861 in Australia, Melba became, in 1920, the first opera singer directly involved with live radio. In her career, her singing was recorded nearly 200 times.
  • Lotte Lehmann: A German born soprano who became an apprentice with the Hamburg Opera in 1910, Lehmann made her singing debut in London in 1914. In 1934, Lotte made her Metropolitan Opera House debut. Over the course of her career, she made over 500 recordings.
  • Maria Callas: Born in New York City in 1923, Callas was a talented and powerful opera singer capable of singing a range of diverse roles-from subtle to dramatic. Her long and distinguished operatic career ended with her death in 1977. She was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
  • Marilyn Horne: Marilyn made her operatic debut in 1954 at the age of 20 in Los Angeles. In 1957, Marilyn joined the Gelsenkirchen Opera Company in Germany and remained until 1960, at which point she returned to the US. She made her Covent Garden debut in 1964 and debuted at La Scala in 1969. In 1984, she was instrumental in bringing G.F. Handel's opera, Rinaldo, to the Metropolitan Opera House. This was the first time an opera by Handel was performed at the Met.
  • Montserrat Caballé: Born in Barcelona, Spain in 1933, Montserrat showed her talent for singing at a very early age. Her talent led to a musical scholarship and additional study in Milan. In 1956, Montserrat made her singing debut in Germany; she received a big break in 1965, when called in without any time to rehearse as a replacement for lead singer, Marilyn Horne. Her performance was a success and led to performances around the world.
  • Leontyne Price: Trained at the Julliard School of Music, Price began her career in 1952, when she starred in Four Saints in Three Acts, Virgil Thompson's all-black Broadway opera. Price made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1961, performing the role of Leonora in Il Trovatore. Through her long singing career, she has received over a dozen Grammy Awards.
Related Life123 Articles

The history of opera reflects the way people throughout history have enjoyed seeing stories set to music.

What is opera? This form of musical performance has stood the test of time since it made its debut in the late 16th century.

Frequently Asked Questions on Ask.com
More Related Life123 Articles

Famous operas have kept audiences captivated for hundreds of years. Learn some of the biggest names in operatic works.

Who wrote the first opera? While we today discuss the lengthy history of this theatrical form, there was a time when opera was revolutionary and new.

What is opera? This form of musical performance has stood the test of time since it made its debut in the late 16th century.

© 2014 Life123, Inc. All rights reserved. An IAC Company