The Best Opera Music Collections

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A collection of the best opera music ever assembled. This is the perfect way to get introduced to opera, or to rediscover your love for the genre.

The Barber of Seville – Gioachino Rossini

The Barber of Seville is one of the most popular operas ever written and has been performed countless times all over the world. It tells the story of a young woman, Rosina, who is being pursued by two men – one of whom is the smitten Count Almaviva.

The music isa perfect blend of melody and humor, and Rossini’s use of the orchestra is masterful. The overture is one of the best-known pieces of classical music, and it will instantly put you in a good mood. If you’ve never seen an opera, this is the perfect one to start with.

La Bohème – Giacomo Puccini

Considered to be one of Puccini’s best works, La Bohème is a must-listen for anyone interested in opera. The story follows a group of young artists in Paris and their complicated love lives. The music is beautiful and heartbreaking, with some of the most famous arias in all of opera.

Carmen – Georges Bizet

One of the most popular and best-known operas of all time, Carmen has been performed countless times since its premiere in 1875. The story, set in Seville, Spain, tells of the tragic love affair between the beautiful gypsy Carmen and the soldier Don Jose. Bizet’s music is passionate and exciting, and the opera features some of the most recognizable melodies in all of classical music.

Don Giovanni – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Don Giovanni is a timeless operatic masterpiece with a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. It is about the adventures – and ultimately, the downfall – of a womanizing libertine in late 18th century Spain. The music was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the first performance took place in Prague in October 1787.

The opera has been adapted numerous times and has been very popular since its inception. One of the most famous adaptations is the eponymous 1949 film directed by Mario Lanza, which starred Ezio Pinza as Don Giovanni.

The music of Don Giovanni is some of the most beautiful and memorable in all of opera. The overture is one of Mozart’s best-known pieces, and the arias “La ci darem la mano” and “Dammi i numeri” are among the most popular in all of opera.

La traviata – Giuseppe Verdi

Considered to be one of Verdi’s masterpieces, La traviata is an opera in three acts that tells the story of the tragic romance between Violetta Valéry and Alfredo Germont.

One of the most popular and well-known opera music collections, La traviata features some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking music ever written. From the famous aria “La donna è mobile” to the moving duet “Parigi, o cara”, this collection is sure to please any opera fan.

The Marriage of Figaro – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is one of the most popular operas ever written, and its music is among the most instantly recognizable. The overture, in particular, is a classic – known and loved by opera fans and non-fans alike. But the entire opera is full of beautiful music, from the lighthearted to the dramatic.

If you’re looking for the best collection of Mozart’s music from The Marriage of Figaro, look no further than Deutsche Grammophon’s 2002 release conducted by James Levine. This 4-disc set includes not only the complete opera, but also a bonus disc with highlights from Mozart’s other operas. It’s the perfect way to get acquainted with one of the greatest works in all of opera.

The Magic Flute – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Magic Flute is one of the most popular operas ever written. Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1791, just a few months before his death, the opera is a German-language work set in Egypt. The story follows the young prince Tamino as he attempts to rescue the beautiful Pamina from the evil Sarastro. Along the way, Tamino is joined by Papageno, a hilarious bird catcher, and together they must overcome many challenges.

The Magic Flute is known for its beautiful music, which includes some of Mozart’s most famous melodies. The opera also features an extraordinary array of colorful characters, from the heroic Tamino to the comedic Papageno to the evil Queen of the Night. With its mix of humor, adventure, and romance, The Magic Flute is an opera that has something for everyone.

Tosca – Giacomo Puccini

Tosca is one of the most popular operas of all time, and for good reason. Giacomo Puccini’s mastery of melody, harmony, and drama is on full display in this tragic tale of love and death. From the thundering “arma, arma!” of the opening chorus to the ethereal “E lucevan le stelle”, Tosca is filled with some of the most beautiful and moving music ever written. If you’re new to opera, this is a great place to start.

Aida – Giuseppe Verdi

Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni, based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. It was composed in the mid-19th century and first performed at Cairo’s Khedivial Opera House on 24 December 1871.

The story is set in the time of the Pharaonic dynasties in Egypt and is concerned with the tragic love affair between Radamès, a military captain, and Aida, an Ethiopian princess who has been enslaved. It is also notable for its depiction of ancient Egyptian culture and for its central love duet, “O terra, addio”.

First performed at the Cairo Opera House on 24 December 1871, Aida was immensely popular both in Egypt and around Europe. In Italy alone it was staged over 500 times by 1913. Today it remains one of the most popular of all operas, with regular performances worldwide.

Turandot – Giacomo Puccini

Turandot is an operatic drama in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, set to a libretto in Chinese by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. The story is based on Turandokht, a Persian fairy tale from One Thousand and One Nights. It tells of Calaf, the prince of Tartary, who falls in love with the Chinese princess Turandot and solves three riddles to win her hand. Puccini saw the story as an allegory of the rise of communism in China.

The opera was commissioned by the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where it premiered on 25 April 1926. It has since been performed around the world with great success. Although it has been greeted with some criticism, many opera lovers consider it to be among Puccini’s finest works.

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