opera singers The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time  

Buster McDermott
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List Rules Vote up the best female opera singer

While opera isn't the most popular for of modern entertainment, it is still a significant cultural staple in many countries, and can be an incredibly moving experience. An opera singer is skilled in the art of singing, acting, and most importantly, projecting their voice in a powerful way to a live audience, filling the entire theatre with music. Female opera singers can hit the high notes with ease.

Who are the best female opera singers of all time? The talented women featured on this list have made a significant impact in the world of opera, and are incredibly talented. Female opera singers are usually sopranos or altos. If you’re interested in opera and want to see these female singers in action, but can't afford to attend, there are many operas available on DVD as well.

The greatest female opera singers on this list include Maria Callas, Renee Fleming, and Anna Gottlieb. Vote up the best of the best below or add the top female opera singers you think are the best if they aren't already on the list.
list ordered by

1
489 151
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Maria Callas Manhattan, New York City, New York

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2
208 81
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agapanthus added Montserrat Caballe Spain, Barcelona

3
257 101
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Joan Sutherland Sydney, Australia

4
170 59
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Renata Tebaldi Pesaro, Italy

5
167 65
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Leontyne Price Laurel, Mississippi, United States of America

6
185 85
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Kiri Te Kanawa Gisborne, New Zealand

7
140 59
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Birgit Nilsson Sweden, Västra Karup

8
162 77
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Cecilia Bartoli Rome, Italy

9
101 39
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Kirsten Flagstad Hamar, Norway

10
127 57
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Jessye Norman Augusta, Georgia, United States of America

11
192 108
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Anna Netrebko Krasnodar, Russia

12
127 58
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Marilyn Horne USA, Bradford, Pennsylvania

13
156 73
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Renee Fleming Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States of America

14
105 54
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Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Jarocin, Poland

15
131 74
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Beverly Sills New York City, USA, New York

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16
69 21
Victoria De Los Angeles is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
angus-stuart added Victoria De Los Angeles

17
63 26
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Mirella Freni Italy, Modena

18
65 24
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Lucia Popp Záhorská Ves, Austria

19
88 48
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Diana Damrau Günzburg, Germany

20
98 55
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Angela Gheorghiu Adjud, Romania

21
56 26
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Renata Scotto Savona, Italy

22
61 29
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Elina Garanca Riga, Latvia

23
56 34
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Rosa Ponselle Meriden, Connecticut, United States of America

24
41 14
Frederica von Stade is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
CotaitCirce added Frederica von Stade Somerville, USA, New Jersey

25
42 15
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Teresa Berganza Madrid, Spain

26
58 36
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Joyce DiDonato Prairie Village, USA, Kansas

27
47 31
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Natalie Dessay France, Lyon

28
27 13
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JimWisdom added Grace Bumbry St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America

29
46 31
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Anne Sofie von Otter Stockholm, Sweden

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30
52 42
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JimWisdom added Kathleen Battle Portsmouth, Ohio, USA

31
45 36
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Edita Gruberová Slovakia, Bratislava

32
19 6
Anna Moffo is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Anna Moffo USA, Wayne, Pennsylvania

33
21 12
Roberta Peters is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
BitzNera added Roberta Peters New York City, New York, USA

34
13 2
Virginia Zeani is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
gnicholls added Virginia Zeani Transylvania, Romania

35
24 16
Lily Pons is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
joe-freeland added Lily Pons Draguignan, France

36
12 2
Margaret Price is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Margaret Price Blackwood, United Kingdom

37
10 1
Lotte Lehmann is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Lotte Lehmann Perleberg, Germany

38
13 4
Shirley Verrett is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Shirley Verrett New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

39
11 5
Hariclea Darclée is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Valentina Badici added Hariclea Darclée Brăila, Sud-Est, Romania

40
35 35
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Nellie Melba Richmond, Australia

41
31 26
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Anna Tomowa-Sintow Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

42
28 23
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JayDeFelice added Risë Stevens New York City, New York, United States of America

43
11 4
Agnes Baltsa is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Agnes Baltsa Lefkada, Greece

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44
25 19
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Astrid Varnay Stockholm, Sweden

45
11 5
Zinka Milanov is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Stuart Naidich added Zinka Milanov Zagreb, Croatia

46
7 1
Fiorenza Cossotto is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Fiorenza Cossotto Crescentino, Italy

47
19 17
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takonyak added Éva Marton Budapest, Hungary

48
8 3
Janet Baker is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Janet Baker Hatfield, England

49
6 4
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OperaPassion added Lisette Oropesa New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

50
5 1
Giulietta Simionato is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Giulietta Simionato Forlì, Italy