The Stars of Opera

The Opera has produced many star singers and, traditionally, the home of the Opera has been Italy. However, over the years the popularity of Opera around the world has resulted in many different performers emerging from a variety of countries.

There have been times when the real stars of opera have only been known in certain areas of the world where opera is popular, but recently these performers have been reaching a wider audience. The popularity of Italian Luciano Pavarotti rose greatly after he performed Nessun Dorma before the 1990 World Cup Final.

There have been few names bigger than Luciano Pavarotti

He was already a big star but this performance gave him access to a global audience. The effect of the song resulted in him going on a world tour with the Three Tenors. The other two singers were Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, and their album became a best seller.

Like Pavarotti, these other two singers were already well known in the opera world.  Jose Carreras is Spanish and he was most well-known for his performances in the operas of Verdi and Puccini. Domingo is also Spanish and his versatility as a performer has seen take part in over 100 operas. As these three tenors became household names. the popularity of opera rose, with other singers becoming recognized as well. Dame Kiri te Kinawa is a New Zealander who has found fame around the world and the soprano has landed many parts as a result of her ability to sing in different languages.

The quality of her performances in operas written by Mozart, Strauss, Handel and Puccini resulted in her being popular in all of the top opera houses of the major cities in the world. She also became a guide and teacher to the emerging star performers, to whom she was able to advise and give the benefit of her experiences. One of the most famous opera stars today is the German Johnas Kaufmann who is currently in great demand. His performances as Don Jose in Carmen and the title role in Don Carlos has put him as the leading tenor of his generation.

The tenor Johnas Kaufmann

If Kaufman is the most popular of the tenors, then Bryn Terfel from Wales must be as highly regarded of the bass-baritones. Born in Pant Glas, he was raised on a farm but he has spent the last 27 years of his career travelling around the world performing in the most challenging roles. A lot his career has been spent playing the roles of Mozart, but recently he has been stretching himself by taking on the Wagner Operas. As well as being a success in Opera, he has also become a success selling his version of mainstream songs.

Elina Garanca is another example of a world class opera star hailing from outside of Italy. Born in Riga, Latvia in 1976, the mezzo-soprano studied singing in Vienna and the United States. She achieved great success as a young singer, winning many local competitions. Following her appearance at the 2003 Saltzberg festival, her popularity has soared. She is now employed around the world in many of the top operas and has already experienced singing in several different languages. The popularity of opera is now global and this is reflected by the wide variety of nationalities of the Opera’s star performers.


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