Music
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The Greatest Operas of All Time, Ranked

Updated October 2, 2019 84.7k votes 10.4k voters 430.1k views173 items

List RulesFamous operas

List of the best operas of all time - a comprehensive greatest opera list that includes work that includes works from all over the world by Italian, French, German, Austrian, Russian, Czech, and American composers, and many more. This list features a variety of operatic genres and styles, including opera seria, opera buffa, opera comique, as well as bel canto and Singspiel styles of singing. Be sure to vote for the famous operas you believe are the greatest of all time, and vote down any you don't like. You can also re-rank this list in any order you want.

What makes a great opera so great? A compelling storyline is certainly important, but it's the music that keeps us enraptured. Some of the best opera songs of all time are included in these operas listed here, including "Habanera" from 'Carmen,' "Nessun dorma" from Giacomo Puccini's 'Turandot' and "Celeste Aida" from Guiseppe Verdi's 'Aida.'

The operas listed here are classics. Many have been enjoyed by opera lovers for centuries, in fact. Some are tragedies, and they'll bring tears to even the driest of eyes (Puccini's 'La boheme' comes to mind, as does his 'Madame Butterfly' and Verdi's 'La traviata'). Wipe those tears away, and start voting for the best operas, right here and right now.
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  • 1
    1,877
    729

    Rigoletto

    Mar 11 1851
    Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The Italian libretto was written by...  more
  • 2
    2,030
    721

    La bohème

    Feb 01 1896
    La bohème is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by...  more
  • 3
    1,771
    605

    Turandot

    Apr 25 1926
    Turandot is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, completed by Franco Alfano, set to a...  more
  • 4
    1,138
    455

    Otello

    Feb 05 1887
    Otello is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Arrigo Boito,...  more
  • 5
    963
    389
    Lucia di Lammermoor is a dramma tragico in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Salvadore...  more
  • 6
    1,225
    323

    Il trovatore

    Jan 19 1853
    Il trovatore is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto largely written...  more
  • 7
    1,067
    392

    Pagliacci

    May 21 1892
    Pagliacci is an Italian opera in a prologue and two acts, with music and libretto by Ruggero...  more
  • 8
    2,379
    874

    Don Giovanni

    Oct 29 1787
    Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian...  more
  • 9
    708
    300

    Norma

    Dec 26 1831
    Norma is a tragedia lirica or opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice...  more
  • 10
    559
    220

    Don Carlos

    Mar 11 1867
    Don Carlos is a five-act grand opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi to a French-language libretto...  more
  • 11
    1,473
    718

    Madame Butterfly

    Feb 17 1904
    Madama Butterfly is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by...  more
  • 12
    1,014
    510
    Tristan und Isolde is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German...  more
  • 13
    877
    405

    L'elisir d'amore

    May 12 1832
    L'elisir d'amore is a comic opera in two acts by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti....  more
  • 14
    488
    215
    Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59, is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to an original...  more
  • 15
    2,050
    1,068

    Carmen

    Mar 03 1875
    Carmen is an opera in four acts by the French composer Georges Bizet. The libretto was written...  more
  • 16
    724
    326

    Die Walküre

    Dec 26 1862
    Die Walküre, WWV 86B, is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner with a German libretto by...  more
  • 17
    1,564
    825

    Tosca

    Jan 14 1900
    Tosca is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and...  more
  • 18
    1,804
    988

    La traviata

    Mar 06 1853
    La traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by...  more
  • 19
    345
    109
    La forza del destino is an Italian opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was written by...  more
  • 20
    351
    102

    Macbeth

    Mar 14 1847
    Macbeth is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, with an Italian libretto by Francesco...  more
  • 21
    1,939
    1,051
    Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata (Trans: The Marriage of Figaro or the Day of...  more
  • 22
    313
    104
    Un ballo in maschera is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi with text by Antonio Somma....  more
  • 23
    1,290
    698

    Aida

    Dec 24 1871
    Aida, sometimes spelled Aïda, is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian...  more
  • 24
    1,247
    660
    Der Ring des Nibelungen, WWV 86, is a cycle of four epic operas by the German composer Richard...  more
  • 25
    305
    101

    Simon Boccanegra

    Mar 12 1857
    Simon Boccanegra is an opera with a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian...  more