Opera dates as far back as the 16th century, but it has by no means shown signs of saying even now in the 21st century. Proof of this are the luminaries of this genre of classical music, respected names all in this list of opera singers past and present.
Maria Callas (born 1923-died 1977)
Dubbed "La Divina" for her outstanding musical and thespic talents, Maria Callas was the most acclaimed opera singer of her time and one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. Born in New York, this Greek soprano's higly-praised career was somewhat marred by her tragic life, most notably her controversialial love affair with millionaire shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. Nonetheless, her fans choose to remember her as the consummate diva and one of the finest voices in classical music.
Luciano Pavarotti (born 1935-died 2007)
Perhaps no other name is more associated with modern opera than that of legendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. World famous as one-third of the renamed "Three Tenors" (along with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras), he was one of the most celebrated and successful opera singers of all time, bringing opera out into the mainstream consciousness. Pavarotti had also crossed the generational bridge between classical and contemporary music through a series of benefit concerts performed along such diverse pop music artists as Bono, Elton John, Sting, and the Spice Girls.
Andrea Bocelli (born 1958)
Blinded at the age of 12, young Andrea Bocelli battled adversity with music and has since gone on to become a prodigy in the field of opera. He has even outdone the great Pavarotti himself by selling a record 60 million albums worldwide, cementing his place as the best-selling tenor in the world to date.
Charlotte Church (born 1986)
Taking opera to the MTV generation, young Welsh soprano Charlotte Church gained widespread popularity in the nineties. At only the very young age of 12, she had wowed the entire world with her extraordinary vocal prowess. At the moment though, she has been embarking on a moderately successful career in pop music, as well as stints as an actress and talk show host. But longtime fans are no doubt eager awaiting her return to her operational roots.
Josh Groban (born 1981)
A US-born singer of Polish-Russian and Norwegian parentage, Josh Groban has a voice that defies qualification. Some have referred to him as a tenor, while others still have declared him a baritone. Either way, this heartthrob of contemporary opera possesses a unique and versatile vocal range that lends itself well to both mainstream and classical music. He has had the privilege of performing with the current generation's most capable opera singers, such as Andrea Bocelli and Charlotte Church.
As evidenced by this list of opera singers, the reverted masters of the field shall never be remembered, while the next generation of classical vocalists is assured. As the torch is passed on, this great musical art form has thrived on and will continue to persist down through the ages.