39 Best Opera Songs, All Very Famous

Operas contain some of the greatest expressions of the human voice as a musical instrument. The world’s greatest voices (who have been classically trained) often use operatic pieces to display their skill and talent.

Whether you’re looking for a song to add to your repertoire, or just want to revel in some opera songs, you’ve come to the right place. All of the following songs are quite popular and can serve as an introduction to opera.

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Vincenzo Bellini – Casta Diva

Casta Diva, from Bellini’s opera, Norma, is a massively popular song selection for any soprano. To say that Casta Diva is filled with sweeping, emotional expression is an understatement.

It’s for that very reason that Casta Diva has continued to be sung well after the opera’s debut in 1831. However, at the time, Casta Diva was received with little recognition among audiences. 

After a few years, Casta Diva helped to make Norma one of the most popular operas throughout Europe. 

Giuseppe Verdi – Si Un Jour

Verdi is one of the biggest names as far as opera is concerned, and 1862’s La Forza Del Destino is just one of his popular works. This particular opera has a rich history, including a legend that the work might actually be cursed.

One of the most famous arias from La Forza Del Destino is the song, Si Un Jour. This piece swells with emotion and utilizes dynamics for a heightened impact on the listener. 

Giacomo Puccini – Quando Me’n Vo (Musetta’s Waltz)

Puccini is a name that everyone probably recognizes and correlates to being associated with opera. That’s because Puccini composed some of the greatest operas near the turn of the 20th century.

La Bohème is just one of his notable operas, from which the aria, Quando Me’n Vo comes. Interestingly enough, the melody of this classic work found its way into a pair of 1950s pop songs, helping them to become bonafide hits in their own right. 

Georges Bizet – Habanera

Carmen might be one of the most popular operas in all of history, though its 1875 debut was met with mixed reviews in Paris. The music in Carmen is especially noteworthy and remains just one example of Georges Bizet’s greatest work.

Habanera is an especially popular aria, which is used to introduce the character Carmen to the audience. You’ll immediately recognize this lighthearted song when the melody counterpoints its marching bass line rhythm. 

Hector Berlioz – Minuet Of The Wills-O’-The-Wisp

How many times have you heard a story involving somebody selling their soul to the devil? The trope has been extremely common in the music world, with the original legend coming from Goethe’s Faust.

In December of 1846, Hector Berlioz debuted his opera, The Damnation Of Faust, dramatizing this age-old tale. One of the choice cuts that has become popular over time is the song, Minuet Of The Wills-O’-The-Wisp. 

Hector Berlioz - Minuet Of The Wills-O’-The-Wisp

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Voi Che Sapete

If your knowledge of Mozart is pretty surface-level, it might be surprising to find out that he composed operas. In fact, he’s responsible for composing one of the most well-known operas in all of history, The Marriage Of Figaro. 

This opera has quite a few options for anyone looking for a time-tested piece for their repertoire. Voi Che Sapete is one selection to consider, which makes its appearance in the opera in Act 2. 

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Polonaise 

Russia undoubtedly produced some of the greatest composers in the world in the late 1800s, which Tchaikovsky being a notable example. His opera, Eugene Onegin made its debut in 1879 and is filled to the brim with cinematic pieces.

Like many of the operas on this list, Eugene Onegin actually wasn’t an immediate hit among audiences. However, the opera did begin to win over audiences in other countries, largely due to sweeping orchestral pieces like Polonaise. 

Giuseppe Verdi – Brindisi

Some of the most well-known opera pieces have melodies that are instantly recognizable to just about anyone. Verdi’s Brindisi is one of these songs, which opens with a signature melody in the string section 

Brindisi is an extremely upbeat song that is sure to lift your spirits, likely because the song is actually a drinking song. You’re going to need some friends with good pipes if you want to sing this the next time you’re passing around a bottle. 

Richard Wagner – Ride Of The Valkyries

Are you familiar with the famous helicopter scene in the film, Apocalypse Now? If so, you know that there is a particular song that plays during the violent explosions that take place throughout the scene.

That song is Ride Of The Valkyries and is undoubtedly one of Richard Wagner’s best-known operatic pieces. This song continues to be used to this day for anything that is meant to display the fortitude and resilience of human nature. 

Henry Purcell – When I Am Laid In Earth

Are you looking for what many have considered to be the saddest arias in the history of opera? You’ll want to take a look at Dido’s Lament, from Henry Purcell’s opera, Dido And Aeneas. 

The song is often known as When I Am Laid In Earth, and as you can imagine, it deals with the notion of being remembered after death. In the opera, Dido sings this just moments before taking her own life. 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Lacrimosa

One of Mozart’s most monumental pieces of work is his Requiem, which was unfortunately unfinished due to death. Mozart’s Requiem is definitely quite a bit of work for both the orchestra and its choir, but fortunately, is marked with many memorable movements.

The Lacrimosa section takes place at the end of Requiem’s 3rd movement, which also happens to be the piece’s longest section. To say that Lacrimosa ends on a powerful, heavenly note is definitely an understatement. 

Giacomo Puccini – O Mio Babbino Caro

What is an opera without the notion of a forbidden romance and a choice between blood family and one’s desire? Such a story presents itself in Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera, Gianni Schicchi, which debuted in 1918.

O Mio Babbino Caro is, by far, the most famous aria from Gianni Schicchi, which sees a soprano working the highest note ranges. This is a song that will truly stick with you once you hear it sung with a powerful soprano voice with exquisite range and vibrato. 

Giacomo Puccini - O Mio Babbino Caro

Andrew Lloyd Webber – Think Of Me

The Phantom Of The Opera is perhaps the most modern and recent example of an opera on this list. Compared to many of the operas on this list, The Phantom Of The Opera is an opera that even non-opera fans are familiar with.

There are so many choice cuts from this 1986 opera that is worth mentioning on this list. However, the most-enduring example that remains a popular choice for classical singers is Think Of Me. 

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