From the early days of Italian opera to the present, these are the most influential pieces of opera music of all time.
The Magic Flute
The Queen of the Night’s aria
“The Queen of the Night’s aria” is a song from the German opera The Magic Flute. Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the aria is sung by the character of the Queen of the Night. It is one of the most recognizable pieces of opera music in the world and has been performed by some of the world’s most famous opera singers.
Papageno and Papagena’s duet
Papageno and Papagena’s duet is a playful exchange between the two lead characters in Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. The duet is one of the most memorable and influential pieces of opera music ever written, and its popularity has endured for centuries. The piece is known for its catchy melody and infectious rhythms, which have made it a favorite among opera fans and casual listeners alike.
Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater, now called the Estates Theatre, on 29 October 1787. The work is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer.
“La ci darem la mano”
“La ci darem la mano” is a duet for two tenors from the first act of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. The libretto was written by Lorenzo da Ponte.
The opera tells the story of Don Giovanni, a libertine who attempts to seduce the married Zerlina. When she resists, he rapes her. However, Zerlina’s fiancé, Masetto, comes to her rescue and attacks Don Giovanni. The two men fight until Donna Elvira, another of Don Giovanni’s conquests, intervenes and tries to stop the brawl.
“Fin ch’han dal vino”
Most opera lovers consider “Fin ch’han dal vino” from Don Giovanni to be one of the most influential pieces of opera music ever written. The aria is sung by the title character after he has just seduced a young woman and is reveling in his conquest.
The music is exuberant and triumphant, and the lyrics are full of lewd double-entendres. The aria is a perfect example of the operatic style known as “bel canto,” which emphasizes beautiful vocal melodies.
It is no wonder that “Fin ch’han dal vino” has beenused in countless movies and TV shows over the years, including The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, and Rocky IV. It is truly one of the most recognizable and beloved pieces of opera music ever written.
“Habanera” is one of the most famous and influential pieces of opera music of all time. It comes from the opera Carmen, which was first performed in 1875. The music was composed by Georges Bizet, and the words were written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy.
The “Habanera” is a very sensual and passionate piece of music, which reflects the character of Carmen herself. It has a syncopated rhythm, which gives it a very distinctive sound. The piece begins with a slow and haunting melody, played on the violin. This builds up to a more upbeat section, before the final section returns to the slow melody.
The “Habanera” has been hugely popular ever since it was first composed, and it has been performed by some of the world’s greatest opera singers. It is still widely performed today, and is often used in popular culture, appearing in films, TV shows and advertisements.
“Toreador Song” is an aria from the opera Carmen, by Georges Bizet. The opera was first performed in 1875, and the aria is sung by the bullfighter Escamillo, in Act 2. It is one of the most famous and recognizable pieces of opera music in the world.
La Bohème is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world’s most popular opera, Bohème is among the most performed of all operas.
“Che gelida manina”
“Che gelida manina” (Your tiny hand is frozen) is a famous tenor aria from Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera La Bohème. It is sung by the protagonist, Rodolfo, in the first act, when he meets Mimì, a seamstress who lives in the same attic, and she inadvertently drops her key in the snow. In the aria, Rodolfo picks up the key and returns it to Mimì. They then begin to talk, and it becomes apparent that they are attracted to each other. The aria is one of the best-known pieces of opera music in the repertoire.
“Musetta’s Waltz” is an aria from Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera La Bohème. It is sung by the character Musetta in the second act of the opera, when she tells her friends that she has found a wealthy man to support her. The aria is one of the most popular pieces from La Bohème, and it has been frequently performed and recorded by many operatic sopranos.
“Nessun dorma” (“None shall sleep”) is an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot and one of the best-known tenor arias in all opera. It is sung by Calaf, a prince from the far east, who has fallen in love with the cold Princess Turandot and overcome all of her challenges. However, the Princess remains unmoved and orders that he be executed at dawn unless he can answer her final riddle. Calaf tells his servant to wake him before sunrise so that he may answer the riddle and win Turandot’s love. In the aria, Calaf expresses his defiance of fate and his certainty that love will triumph.
The “Nessun dorma” aria is one of the most popular pieces of classical music ever written, and has been covered by many artists including Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, John Denver, Jackie Evancho and 2Cellos.