It is a a great experience to listen to Opera music and enjoy this super expressing and emotional art. If you are looking for some of the best opera songs of all time, prepare yourself for a nice journey here discovering 20 of the most beautiful, most popular opera songs (opera arias).
Here are 12 arias of the greatest opera songs. Enjoy the wonderful sounds of some of the world’s greatest singers singing melodies from the world’s most famous operas with a great passion.
You can watch videos of all these top opera songs here. You can read the description of each opera song here to know the composer and other interesting facts about it.
Best opera songs list part 1 (1 – 10)
1. O Mio Babbino Caro
Let’s start our list of the greatest opera songs by this delicious song. “O mio babbino caro” (“Oh my dear papa”) aria from opera “Gianni Schicchi” by Puccini, it is the ultimate song when Daddy doesn’t approve of your boyfriend. It was designed for the lady character, Lauretta, to express her love even her father gets in the way.
2. La donna è mobile
This classic opera song, “La donna è mobile” (Woman is fickle) aria from opera “Rigoletto” by Verdi, is indispensable to a tenor’s repertoire. It is one of the most famous Italian opera songs.
The character who sings it is The Duke character in opera Rigoletto, to express his opinion that men should not take ladies very seriously! He thinks that they are totally unreliable and false.
Enjoy it here with the Three Tenors including the great Pavarotti.
The famous Carmen melody is one of the most popular classic opera songs. It is also known as “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle”(“Love is a rebellious bird”). It expresses mad love that can take a beautiful turn or simply ruins everything.
The character who sings it is Carmen from opera “Carmen” by Bizet when soldiers ask her when she will love them and she replies with this aria in front of the crowd of the girls of the factory and the guys in the square.
4. Libiamo ne’lieti calici
Drink from the joyful cup that’s the message of this drinking song “Libiamo ne’lieti calici” from opera La Traviata by Verdi about a man who sings to his love after lengthy illness. It comes in the first famous opera songs (arias) and sets the stage for jolly times and pure romance. It was featured on the Simpsons series also.
5. Nessun dorma
Nobody has ever sang famous opera song “Nessun dorma” better than Pavarotti and maybe they ever will! Nessun dorma (none shall sleep) aria was made famous by singer Pavarotti and has become an iconic number for dramatic Productions. It is an incredibly emotional aria from the most famous Italian opera “Turandot” by composer Puccini, that for the passion and precision he poured into it.
Also read: Story behind Caruso – Luciano Pavarotti
The story behind this iconic song is about a beautiful princess who is being courted by several men, but they should answer her three riddles that are impossible to answer if they want to marry her. Calaf (a secret prince) has fallen in love with the princess and has answered the three questions but she still doesn’t want to marry him. However, Calaf says if she can guess his name by the morning she doesn’t have to marry him, but If she doesn’t find his name she has to. The princess tells her servants that if they don’t find out his name she will have them all killed. Thus the aria sung by the prince,” No One Sleeps”!
6. Largo al factotum – opera song by Rossini
Largo al factotum (Make way for the factotum) aria is sung at the first entrance of the title character in opera “The Barber of Seville” by composer Rossini. The character who sings it Figaro, where he is quite assured of his abilities and describes his popularity and his many talents with this song. This aria was used in the comedy animated series “Tom & Jerry”. However, It is considered one of the most challenging operas for a baritone to perform.
7. Un Bel Di Vedremo
Un bel dì vedremo (One fine day we’ll see) aria is sung by Madama Butterfly in the second act of Giacomo Puccini’s tragic opera, Madama Butterfly. And it’s absolutely one of the best opera songs.
Madama Butterfly’s servant pities her and repeatedly tells her that her husband is never going to come back, but Madama Butterfly believes differently. So this aria is about Butterfly’s poignant belief that her husband will return to her, she sings it as she envisions that day her husband’s ship arrives into port, and how she’ll see it through the window in their home that sits high atop a hill.
8. Queen of the Night – Famous opera song by Mozart
It is also known as “‘Der Hölle Rache”, but it is famous as “Queen of the Night” song. It’s the second aria from mozart’s Queen of the night opera and a high mountain to climb for even the best vocalists in the world. In this aria, The terrifying character queen of the night actually pushes her daughter to murder a rival.
9. Ombra mai fu – Opera aria by Handel
This aria is from Handel’s opera “Serse”, which was a commercial failure, lasting only five performances in London after its premiere. In the 19th century, however, this aria Ombra mai fu (Never was a shade) was rediscovered and became one of Handel’s best-known pieces and one of the most famous opera songs of all time as well.
10. Je Veux Vivre
“Je Veux Vivre” is Juliette’s first aria from opera Romeo et Juliette composed by Gounod. she sings it after her nurse yet again brings up the fact that she has to get married to Paris. It is a celebration of the fact that love has not yet come to her. In this famous and brilliant waltz song, the girl innocently revels in her heart free state, which is so soon to change.
Greatest opera songs list part 2 (11 – 20)
11. Voi che sapete – great opera song by Mozart
Another one of the greatest opera songs is a composition by late Mozart, Voi che sapete. It is sung in the second act of his famous comedy opera “The Marriage of Figaro”. The character who sings it is Cherubino. This aria conveys all the intensity of new love.
12. Quando m’en vo – Great opera song by Puccini
Top famous operas songs list should include this lovely song “Quando m’en vo’ soletta” also known as “Musetta’s Waltz”, which is sung in the second act of the famous comedy opera by Puccini “La Bohème”.The character who sings it is Musetta. She sings it in the presence of her bohemian friends, hoping to reclaim the attention of her occasional boyfriend Marcello.
13. Flower Duet by Léo Delibes
Flower Duet is one of the most popular female opera songs. A super sweet work by Léo Delibes for soprano and mezzo-soprano voices. Flower Duet was performed countless times, so it’s a bit hard to recommend one performance. But I recently found this amazing version one by Charlotte Church.
14. Casta Diva – Bellini
Another beautiful Italian opera song from Norma opera by Italian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini. Here is a great performance by Maria Callas.
15. Aria ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ – Handel
“Let me Cry” is the title meaning for this baroque treasure from Rinaldo (HWV 7) Opera by George Frideric Handel.
16. Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour – Famous Opera song by Offenbach
Usually known as Barcarolle, German-French composer Jacques Offenbach wrote this work in his opera The Tales of Hoffmann. One of the Most popular opera songs.
The title means in English: Beautiful night, oh night of love. It is also performed so many times as a duet and was featured in the Italian funny and painful film Life Is Beautiful (1997) , La vita è bella (original title)
17. Carmina Burana – ‘In trutina’
This one is not so famous as the others in this list and also is not from an opera. But it is so beautiful so I decided to include it. In trutina from the very very known Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.
18. O sole mio
O sole mio is a song that you most probably heard before. Pop-opera singers like to perform it in their operatic style. Some of the popular versions are by Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli and Amira, the one in the video here.
19. Wagner – Lohengrin – Prelude
We should mention this calm opera music without words by Wagner from Lohengrin opera. This aria is totally different from what we know about Wagner, Wagner is famous for his very long opras like 18-hour Ring Cycle with a lot of heavy epic dramatic music.
20. “Le Nozze di Figaro” – Canzonetta Sull’aria – Mozart
This duet b Mozart was used in the film “The Shawshank Redemption” Read more about it here: Classical music: opera song in “The Shawshank Redemption” movie