It is always exciting when a vocal student is ready to start studying his or her first operatic aria! One of the best things about being a classical singer is knowing you have so many great years ahead of you. After all, you’re considered in your prime in your 40s.
That being said, realize that the voice you have now and the repertoire you’ll first study will be very, very different from what you sing later on in your career. It’s absolutely crucial that you sing repertoire that is not too heavy for your young voice, or you may damage it. Fear not — here is a list of some of the most beautiful opera songs, all of which are marvelous starting points for all voice types.
Opera Arias for Sopranos
This cute little aria is from one of Mozart’s greatest hits, “The Marriage of Figaro”. The character singing it is Barbarina. Believe it or not, the soprano who first sung this role was 12… so this is indeed suitable for a young singer with operatic aspirations!
“O mio babbino caro” from Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi”
This is another short but wonderful aria that everyone knows and loves. It’s beautiful and perfect for a lighter, lyric voice. Do be careful to avoid dragging the tempo: many sopranos have taken it too slowly.
Opera Arias for Mezzo-Sopranos
“Voi che sapete” from “Marriage of Figaro”
This charming aria, sung by the page boy Cherubino, is a terrific intro to the “trouser roles” often sung by mezzos. With a lilting melody and a chance to show off some chest voice, it’s a true winner.
“Must the Winter Come So Soon?” from Barber’s “Vanessa”
This is a beautiful aria from an American opera that is not performed too often. It may not be a long aria, but the vocal line is gorgeous. It’s essential that young singers prepare a few arias that are in English.
Opera Arias for Baritones
“Se vuol ballare” from the “Marriage of Figaro”
Let’s face it: this opera has an aria for everyone! This aria, sung by Figaro, is a solid choice for beginning baritone. It’s a perfect moderate tempo — and also has a few high notes.
“Vecchia zimarra” from Puccini’s “La Boheme”
It may be another short aria, but it packs a powerful punch since it’s from a very dramatic opera! This one is a favorite for a reason. Puccini didn’t write an awful lot for baritones!
Opera Arias for Tenors
“Quanto e bella” from Donizetti’s “ L’elisir d’amore”
This moderate tempo aria is ideal for a light lyric tenor! The character is the lovestruck Nemorino, and this opera song has been sung by many of the greats, including Luciano Pavarotti.
“Lonely House” from Kurt Weill’s “Street Scene”
Weill’s music may be challenging to learn, but this haunting aria suits a young singer’s voice. This aria will also give a strong actor a chance to set himself apart from other tenors that just want to stand there and sound pretty.
Want more song recommendations by voice type, beyond opera? Check out our song ideas here, including best picks for auditions, talent shows, and gigs.
Your voice teacher is another great resource for suggestions. He or she will undoubtedly have many more ideas for you. If classical singing interests you, it’s very important to be working with a voice coach, as opera is a lot tougher to sing than many other genres.
Have fun exploring the rich and wonderful world of opera! To continue learning, check out our Ultimate Guide to Singing Styles and Genres!
Readers, what are your picks for the most beautiful opera songs? Let us know in the comments!
Photo by Jasn