Some say: “Opera singers are the professors and pop singers are the kindergarten teachers.” Well, Although it is difficult to compare the two genres because their purpose is so different, all of us know that the opera world demands higher vocal skills and more training than pop world. So any opera singer could sing a pop song effortlessly, but pop singers are better at producing for the masses.
What is pop opera?
Pop opera or operatic pop is a subgenre of pop music that is performed in an operatic singing style or a song, theme or motif from classical music stylized as pop. According to music historians, operatic pop songs became most prevalent during the early 1900s.
Pop Opera Singers:
Here’s a list of the most notable and famous pop opera singers in the world, who have successfully mixed the two genres in one style called operatic pop or popera.
1. Andrea Bocelli
Andrea Bocelli is an Italian tenor, multi-instrumentalist, pop opera singer, and a songwriter with a long successful career in music spanning over 37 years. Bocelli is well known for his beautiful voice, famous for songs such as Time to Say Goodbye duet with Sarah Brightman and more recently working with Ed Sheeran on hit single Perfect.
The opera singer is one of the most exciting voices in contemporary opera during the late 20th century. Tragically, Andrea lost his sight after a football accident when he was just 12. He started his singing career in the late 1980s and became known to the wider audience after he won the Newcomers section of the Sanremo Music Festival in 1994. Since then, The blind Italian tenor has recorded 3 greatest hits albums,14 solo studio albums, of both pop and classical music, as well as 9 complete operas, selling over 80 million records worldwide. Thus, he eventually turned into the most-selling artist in the history of classical music.
2. Sarah Brightman
Sarah Brightman is an English classical crossover soprano singer, actress, songwriter and dancer with a big following in North America and Japan. She is among the most prominent performers, with worldwide sales of more than 30 million records and 2 million DVDs.
The famous soprano has a vocal range of over 3 octaves, sings in many languages including English, Spanish, French, Latin, German, Turkish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Catalan.
Brightman began her career as a member of the dance troupe Hot Gossip and released several disco singles as a solo performer. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Brightman got married in 1982 and she went on to star in a number of his shows, including The Phantom of the Opera. She began her career as a classical crossover artist after retiring from the stage and divorcing Lloyd Webber.
3. Josh Groban
Any list of pop opera singers must include Josh Groban. He is an established musician, singer, actor, record producer and songwriter. Initially, The baritone was interested in acting but later moved to singing as his voice developed.
His first four solo albums have been certified multi-platinum, and in 2007, he was charted as the number-one best selling artist in the United States, with over 22.3 million records. As of 2012, the 38-years-old singer had sold over 25 million records worldwide. He made a successful duet with with Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli….
4. Katherine Jenkins
Katherine Jenkins is a super successful opera singer. She is a Welsh mezzo-soprano (vocalist), 40 years old. She is a popular classical-crossover singer who performs across a spectrum of operatic arias, popular songs, musical theatre and hymns. The Welsh opera star is best known for her cover of Andrea Bocelli’s ‘Time to Say Goodbye’, as well as ‘I Believe’, her duet with Bocelli himself.
She came to wide public attention in 2003 when she sang at Westminster Cathedral in honour of Pope John Paul II’s silver jubilee. Her records have sold millions of copies worldwide, and she has appeared on television programmes including Dancing with the Stars and Popstar to Operastar.
5. Il Divo
Il Divo has always stood out for its peculiar mix of opera and pop in songs of different genres. They are a multi-national classical crossover male vocal group. The male quartet is made up of singers: Swiss tenor Urs Bühler, Spanish baritone Carlos Marin, French pop artist Sébastien Izambard and American tenor David Miller.
The pop opera group formed in 2004. Since then, IL Divo has sold over 30 million records throughout its career and performed before personalities like as former US presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama , or the Queen of England.
6. Emma Shapplin
Emma Shapplin is a 45 year old French French soprano Singer. She sings a unique genre, which blends opera with rock and pop notes. Her first album studio « Carmine Meo » represents her debut as a professional artist, and sold over than two million copies around the world. It rose to the top of the charts worldwide, often overtaking albums by the likes of Céline Dion and Madonna.
Emma has performed since her beginnings in some of the most incredible places in the world, including the Acropolis of Athens, as well as the Greek Olympia stadium, at the Colosseum Theater…
7. Luciano Pavarotti (1935 – 2007)
Nobody can forget the beauty of this great tenor’s voice. Luciano Pavarotti, the bearded opera legend, was among the truly great opera stars of the 20th century. He was as instantly recognizable around the world and his voice touched millions.
Related playlist: Pavarotti duets
The beloved tenor began his successful career in 1961 when he made his first operatic debut as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème in Italy.
Pavarotti’s 1990 album The Essential Pavarotti became the first classical album to take the number one spot on the UK Pop Charts.
Also read: Story behind Caruso – Luciano Pavarotti
8- Jose Carreras
Spanish tenor, Jose Carreras is known for his performance in the operas of Puccini and Verdi. He is also known as one of the famous Three Tenors, along with Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo, who popularized opera in the 1990s.
He gave his first performance at age eight , singing ‘La Donna e Mobile’ on national radio; by 1972 he had won the Giuseppe Verdi Competition. The famous tenor retired from public life for a while to undergo a tough treatment when he was diagnosed with leukemia in 1987. His career is spanning for decades, with millions of records sold and countless performances around the world
I hope you enjoyed this list of the most famous pop opera singers. Now you need to know this: 12 Best opera songs ever – Most popular opera songs