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
534 172
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Maria Callas Manhattan, New York City, New York

2
234 97
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agapanthus added Montserrat Caballe Spain, Barcelona

3
272 114
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Joan Sutherland Sydney, Australia

4
183 68
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Renata Tebaldi Pesaro, Italy

5
184 78
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Leontyne Price Laurel, Mississippi, United States of America

6
163 67
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Birgit Nilsson Västra Karup, Sweden

7
203 97
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Kiri Te Kanawa Gisborne, New Zealand

8
137 64
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Marilyn Horne Bradford, Pennsylvania, United States of America

9
170 93
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Cecilia Bartoli Rome, Italy

10
174 82
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Renee Fleming Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States of America

11
112 48
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Kirsten Flagstad Hamar, Norway

12
137 65
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Jessye Norman Augusta, Georgia, United States of America

13
206 123
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Anna Netrebko Krasnodar, Russia

14
140 77
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Beverly Sills New York City, New York, USA

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15
74 27
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Lucia Popp Záhorská Ves, Austria

16
111 62
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Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Jarocin, Poland

17
66 30
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Mirella Freni Italy, Modena

18
97 54
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Diana Damrau Günzburg, Germany

19
75 23
Victoria De Los Angeles is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
angus-stuart added Victoria De Los Angeles

20
102 63
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Angela Gheorghiu Adjud, Romania

21
61 30
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Renata Scotto Savona, Italy

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22
62 37
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Rosa Ponselle Meriden, Connecticut, United States of America

23
69 34
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Elina Garanca Riga, Latvia

24
46 17
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
47 18
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Teresa Berganza Madrid, Spain

26
53 36
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Natalie Dessay France, Lyon

27
63 42
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Joyce DiDonato Prairie Village, Kansas, United States of America

28
29 9
Anna Moffo is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Anna Moffo Wayne, Pennsylvania, United States of America

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29
50 33
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Anne Sofie von Otter Stockholm, Sweden

30
29 16
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JimWisdom added Grace Bumbry St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America

31
57 47
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JimWisdom added Kathleen Battle Portsmouth, Ohio, United States of America

32
31 19
Lily Pons is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
joe-freeland added Lily Pons Draguignan, France

33
15 2
Lotte Lehmann is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Lotte Lehmann Perleberg, Germany

34
46 41
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Edita Gruberová Slovakia, Bratislava

35
15 4
Janet Baker is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Janet Baker Hatfield, England

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36
17 6
Shirley Verrett is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Shirley Verrett USA, New Orleans, Louisiana

37
33 25
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JayDeFelice added Risë Stevens New York City, USA, New York

38
16 6
Virginia Zeani is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
gnicholls added Virginia Zeani Transylvania, Romania

39
14 4
Margaret Price is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Margaret Price Blackwood, United Kingdom

40
22 15
Roberta Peters is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
BitzNera added Roberta Peters New York City, USA, New York

41
33 28
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Anna Tomowa-Sintow Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

42
12 4
Fiorenza Cossotto is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Fiorenza Cossotto Crescentino, Italy

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43
27 20
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Astrid Varnay Stockholm, Sweden

44
12 8
Hariclea Darclée is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Valentina Badici added Hariclea Darclée Brăila, Sud-Est, Romania

45
36 39
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Nellie Melba Richmond, Australia

46
13 7
Agnes Baltsa is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Agnes Baltsa Lefkada, Greece

47
13 7
Zinka Milanov is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Stuart Naidich added Zinka Milanov Zagreb, Croatia

48
9 3
Giulietta Simionato is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Giulietta Simionato Forlì, Italy

49
10 4
Leonie Rysanek is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
Leonie Rysanek Vienna, Austria

50
10 5
Sondra Radvanovsky is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Female Opera Singers of All Time
gnicholls added Sondra Radvanovsky Berwyn, Illinois, United States of America