Singers on Singing: The Performer’s Perspective

Introduction to Singers on Singing: The Performer's Perspective

There is no substitute for the real-life experience of a performer who has embodied a role on stage or taken on the persona in a lied, chanson or song when it comes to a discussion of the most subtle living elements in a vocal composition. The performer’s perspective on opera and song does not replace or compete with the important works of writers and lecturers on music, but it does provide a dimension that, arising both from the artist’s in situ personification of the dramatic, poetic and psychological situation and his/her long years of study, is of irreplaceable instructive and intuitive value.

The Singers on Singing archive gives students and music-lovers a precious opportunity to share the unique insights and thoughts on opera and song of some of the very most highly acclaimed performers of the last several decades, supported by actual illustrations of their interpretations.

Within this framework, taken as a whole there are even some comparative instances where a specific opera, role or song is discussed and performed by different artists. So as to give the user of this facility an immediate overview of the repertoire that the artists in these features discuss and perform, we have compiled a database read-out of all the materials, below.

Part of

Singers on Singing: Great Artists in Conversation

Roles / Operas / Composers


Abigaille (Nabucco): Renata Scotto
Adriana Lecouvreur (Adriana Lecouvreur): Renata Tebaldi
Aida (Aida): Montserrat CaballéMirella FreniRenata Tebaldi
Alfredo (La Traviata): Giuseppe di Stefano
Amalia (I Masnadieri): Joan Sutherland
Amelia (Un Ballo in Maschera): Maria Callas
Amina (La Sonnambula): Renata Scotto
Amneris (Aida): Grace Bumbry discusses Amneris
Antonia (Les Contes d’Hoffmann): Joan Sutherland
Arabella (Arabella): Lotte LehmannElisabeth Schwarzkopf
Arsace (Semiramide): Marilyn Horne
Arturo Talbot (I Puritani): Luciano Pavarotti
Billy Budd (Billy Budd): Peter Glossop
Blanche (Dialogues des Carmélites): Virginia Zeani
Bluebeard (Bluebeard’s Castle): Dietrich Fischer-DieskauJohn Tomlinson
Boris Godunov (Boris Godunov): Ruggero RaimondiJohn Tomlinson
Calaf (Turandot): Luciano Pavarotti
Canio (I Pagliacci): Saluting Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti
Carmen (Carmen): Grace Bumbry discusses Carmen, Angela GheorghiuMarilyn HorneSophie Koch
Chapelou (Le Postillon de Lonjumeau): Nicolai Gedda
Charlotte (Werther): Maria CallasAngela GheorghiuSophie Koch
Chorèbe (Les Troyens): Peter Glossop
Cio-Cio San (Madama Butterfly): Maria CallasMirella FreniAngela GheorghiuLotte LehmannRenata ScottoRenata Scotto discusses Madama Butterfly, Renata Tebaldi
Claggart/Master-at-Arms (Billy Budd): John Tomlinson
Composer (Ariadne auf Naxos): Sophie Koch
Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro): Thomas Hampson
Dalila (Samson et Dalila): Angela GheorghiuMarilyn Horne
Didon (Les Troyens): Singing Berlioz
Der Holländer/The Dutchman (Die Fliegende Holländer): John Tomlinson
Der Wanderer (Siegfried): John Tomlinson
Desdemona (Otello): Mirella FreniRenata ScottoRenata Tebaldi
Don Alvaro (La Forza del Destino): Saluting Caruso
Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni): Tito GobbiThomas HampsonRuggero Raimondi
Don José (Carmen): Nicolai GeddaJon Vickers–A Memoir
Don Quichotte (Massenet’s Don Quichotte):  José van Dam discusses Massenet’s ‘Don Quichotte’, Ruggero Raimondi
Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni): Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto): Luciano Pavarotti
Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor): Luciano Pavarotti
Elektra (Elektra): Deborah Polaski discusses Elektra
Elisabeth (Tannhäuser): Lotte Lehmann
Elvira (Ernani): Joan Sutherland
Elvira (I Puritani): Maria CallasJoan Sutherland
Énée/Aeneas (Les Troyens): Jon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
Enzo Grimaldo (La Gioconda): Luciano Pavarotti
Esclarmonde (Esclarmonde):  Joan Sutherland
Eva (Die Meistersinger von NürnbergLotte Lehmann
Falstaff (Falstaff): Tito Gobbi
Faust (Faust): Giuseppe di Stefano
Federico (L’Arlesiana): Luciano PavarottiGiuseppe di Stefano
Florestan (Fidelio): Jon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
Ford (Falstaff): Thomas Hampson
Fricka (Das RheingoldDie Walküre): Sophie Koch
Germont [Giorgio] (La Traviata): Tito GobbiThomas Hampson
Gianni Schicchi (Gianni Schicchi): Tito Gobbi
Gilda (Rigoletto): Renata Scotto
Goethe (Friederike): Nicolai Gedda
Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande): Pelléas et Mélisande FeatureDietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Singing Debussy
Hagen (Götterdämmerung): John TomlinsonJohn Tomlinson discusses Wotan
Hamlet (Hamlet): Thomas Hampson
Hans Sach (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg): Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Hortense (Der Opernball): Joan Sutherland
Iago (Otello): Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Tito GobbiPeter Glossop
Idomeneo (Idomeneo): Luciano Pavarotti
Isolde (Tristan und Isolde): Maria Callas
Jocaste (Oedipus Rex): Marilyn Horne
King Lear (Lear): Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Kundry (Parsifal): Sophie Koch
La Gioconda (La Gioconda): Renata ScottoRenata Tebaldi
Lady Macbeth (Macbeth): Maria Callas
Laura (La Gioconda): Marilyn Horne
Leonora (Fidelio): Lotte Lehmann
Leonora (Il Trovatore): Renata Tebaldi
Leonora (La Forza del Destino): Maria CallasRenata Tebaldi
Lucia Lammermoor (Lucia di Lammermoor): Renata ScottoJoan Sutherland
Lucrezia Borgia (Lucrezia Borgia): Montserrat Caballé
Macbeth (Macbeth): Thomas Hampson
Maddalena di Coigny (Andrea Chénier): Renata Tebaldi
Magda (La Rondine): Angela Gheorghiu
Mandane (ArtaxerxesJoan Sutherland
Mandryka (Arabella): Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Manon (Manon): Angela GheorghiuLotte Lehmann
Manon Lescaut (Manon Lescaut): Angela GheorghiuVirginia Zeani
Marguerite de Valois (Les Huguenots): Joan Sutherland
Marie (Wozzeck): Marilyn Horne
Mario Cavaradossi (Tosca): Luciano PavarottiGiuseppe di Stefano
Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier): Lotte Lehmann
Medea (Medea): Maria Callas
Mélisande (Pelléas et Mélisande): Pelléas et Mélisande Feature, Singing Debussy
Méphistophélès (La damnation de Faust): Singing Berlioz
Mignon (Mignon): Sophie Koch
Mimi (La Bohème): Mirella FreniRenata Tebaldi
Minnie (La Fanciulla del West): Renata Tebaldi
Nemorino (L’Elisir d’Amore): Nicolai Gedda
Norma (Norma): Maria CallasJoan Sutherland
Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier): Sophie Koch
Otello (Otello): Saluting Caruso, Jon Vickers, Jon Vickers–A Memoir
Pelléas (Pelléas et Mélisande): Pelléas et Mélisande Feature, Singing Debussy
Peter Grimes (Peter Grimes): Jon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
Philip II (Don Carlo): Ruggero Raimondi
Pinkerton [Benjamin] (Madama Butterfly): Nicolai GeddaGiuseppe di Stefano
Radamès (Aida): Jon Vickers
Riccardo (Un Ballo in Maschera): Luciano PavarottiGiuseppe di Stefano
Rigoletto (Rigoletto): Tito GobbiPeter Glossop
Rinaldo (Rinaldo): Marilyn Horne
Rodolfo (La Bohème): Saluting Caruso, Luciano PavarottiGiuseppe di Stefano
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa (Don Carlo): Dietrich Fischer-DieskauTito Gobbi, Thomas Hampson discusses Rodrigue in Verdi’s Don Carlos
Salomé (Hérodiade): Montserrat Caballé
Salome (Salome): Montserrat Caballé
Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana): Renata Scotto
Samson (Samson et Dalila): Jon Vickers–A Memoir
Scarpia (Tosca): Tito GobbiRuggero Raimondi
Semiramide (Semiramide): Joan Sutherland
Sieglinde (Die Walküre): Lotte Lehmann
Siegmund (Die Walküre): Jon Vickers–A Memoir
Simon Boccanegra (Simon Boccanegra): Tito Gobbi
Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica): Renata ScottoRenata Tebaldi
Tamino (Die Zauberflöte): Nicolai Gedda
Tatjana (Eugene Onegin): Mirella Freni
Thaïs (Thaïs): Virginia Zeani
Tonio (La Fille du Régiment): Luciano Pavarotti
Tosca (Tosca): Maria CallasRenata Tebaldi
Tristan (Tristan und Isolde): Jon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
Turandot (Turandot): Montserrat Caballé
Violetta (La Traviata): Maria CallasAngela GheorghiuRenata ScottoRenata TebaldiVirginia Zeani
Wally (La Wally): Renata Scotto
Werther (Werther): Nicolai Gedda
Wotan (Das RheingoldDie Walküre): John TomlinsonJohn Tomlinson discusses Wotan
Wozzeck (Wozzeck): Tito Gobbi


Adriana LecouvreurRenata Tebaldi
AidaGrace Bumbry discusses Amneris, Montserrat CaballéMirella FreniRenata TebaldiJon Vickers
ArabellaSinging Strauss FeatureDietrich Fischer-DieskauLotte LehmannElisabeth Schwarzkopf
Ariadne auf NaxosSinging Strauss FeatureSophie Koch
L’ArlesianaLuciano PavarottiGiuseppe di Stefano
ArtaxerxesJoan Sutherland
Billy BuddSinging Britten FeaturePeter GlossopJohn Tomlinson
Bluebeard’s CastleDietrich Fischer-DieskauJohn Tomlinson
Boris GodunovRuggero RaimondiJohn Tomlinson
CapriccioSinging Strauss Feature
CarmenGrace Bumbry discusses Carmen, Nicolai GeddaAngela GheorghiuMarilyn HorneSophie KochJon Vickers–A Memoir
Cavalleria RusticanaRenata Scotto
Curlew RiverSinging Britten Feature
DaphneSinging Strauss Feature
Das RheingoldSophie KochJohn TomlinsonJohn Tomlinson discusses Wotan
Death in Venice: Singing Britten Feature
Der OpernballJoan Sutherland
Der RosenkavalierSinging Strauss FeatureSophie KochLotte Lehmann
Dialogues des CarmélitesVirginia Zeani
Die Fliegende Holländer:  John Tomlinson
Die Frau ohne SchattenSinging Strauss Feature
Die Meistersinger von NürnbergDietrich Fischer-DieskauLotte Lehmann
Die WalküreSophie KochLotte LehmannJohn TomlinsonJohn Tomlinson discusses WotanJon Vickers–A Memoir
Die ZauberflöteNicolai Gedda
Don CarloDietrich Fischer-DieskauTito Gobbi, Thomas Hampson discusses Rodrigue in Verdi’s Don Carlos, Ruggero Raimondi
Don GiovanniTito GobbiThomas HampsonRuggero RaimondiElisabeth Schwarzkopf
Don Quichotte:  José van Dam discusses Massenet’s ‘Don Quichotte’, Ruggero Raimondi
Elektra: Singing Strauss Feature, Deborah Polaski discusses Elektra
ErnaniJoan Sutherland
EsclarmondeJoan Sutherland
Eugene OneginMirella Freni
FalstaffTito GobbiThomas Hampson
FaustGiuseppe di Stefano
FeuersnotSinging Strauss Feature
FidelioLotte LehmannJon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
FriederikeNicolai Gedda
Gianni SchicchiTito Gobbi
GötterdämmerungJohn TomlinsonJohn Tomlinson discusses Wotan
GuntramSinging Strauss Feature
HamletThomas Hampson
HérodiadeMontserrat Caballé
I MasnadieriJoan Sutherland
I PuritaniMaria CallasLuciano PavarottiJoan Sutherland
IdomeneoLuciano Pavarotti
Il TrovatoreRenata Tebaldi
IntermezzoSinging Strauss Feature
L’Elisir d’AmoreNicolai Gedda
La BohèmeSaluting Caruso, Mirella FreniLuciano PavarottiGiuseppe di StefanoRenata Tebaldi
La damnation de Faust: Singing Berlioz
La Fanciulla del WestRenata Tebaldi
La Fille du RégimentLuciano Pavarotti
La Forza del DestinoMaria CallasSaluting Caruso, Renata Tebaldi
La GiocondaMarilyn HorneLuciano PavarottiRenata ScottoRenata Tebaldi
La RondineAngela Gheorghiu
La SonnambulaRenata Scotto
La TraviataMaria CallasAngela GheorghiuTito GobbiThomas HampsonRenata ScottoGiuseppe di StefanoRenata TebaldiVirginia Zeani
La WallyRenata Scotto
Le Nozze di FigaroThomas Hampson
Le Postillon de LonjumeauNicolai Gedda
LearDietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Les Contes d’HoffmannJoan Sutherland
Les HuguenotsJoan Sutherland
Les TroyensPeter Glossop, Singing BerliozJon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
Lucia di LammermoorLuciano PavarottiRenata ScottoJoan Sutherland
Lucrezia BorgiaMontserrat Caballé
MacbethMaria CallasThomas Hampson
Madama ButterflyMaria CallasMirella FreniNicolai GeddaAngela GheorghiuLotte LehmannRenata ScottoRenata Scotto discusses Madama Butterfly, Giuseppe di StefanoRenata Tebaldi
Manon (Massenet): Angela GheorghiuLotte Lehmann
Manon LescautAngela GheorghiuVirginia Zeani
MedeaMaria Callas
MignonSophie Koch
Mosè in EgittoRenata Tebaldi
NabuccoRenata Scotto
NormaMaria CallasJoan Sutherland
Oedipus RexMarilyn Horne
OtelloSaluting Caruso, Dietrich Fischer-DieskauMirella FreniTito GobbiPeter GlossopRenata ScottoRenata Tebaldi, Jon Vickers, Jon Vickers–A Memoir
Owen WingraveSinging Britten Feature
Pacific 1860Joan Sutherland
Pagliacci: Saluting Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti
ParsifalSophie Koch
Pelléas et MélisandePelléas et Mélisande FeatureDietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Singing Debussy
Peter GrimesSinging Britten FeatureJon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
RigolettoTito GobbiPeter GlossopLuciano PavarottiRenata Scotto
RinaldoMarilyn Horne
SalomeSinging Strauss FeatureMontserrat Caballé
Samson et DalilaAngela GheorghiuMarilyn HorneJon Vickers–A Memoir
SemiramideMarilyn HorneJoan Sutherland
SiegfriedJohn TomlinsonJohn Tomlinson discusses Wotan
Simon BoccanegraTito Gobbi
Suor AngelicaRenata ScottoRenata Tebaldi
TannhäuserLotte Lehmann
ThaïsVirginia Zeani
The Rape of LucretiaSinging Britten Feature
The Turn of the ScrewSinging Britten Feature
ToscaMaria CallasTito GobbiLuciano PavarottiRuggero RaimondiGiuseppe di StefanoRenata Tebaldi
Tristan und IsoldeMaria CallasJon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
TurandotMontserrat CaballéLuciano Pavarotti
Un Ballo in MascheraMaria CallasLuciano PavarottiGiuseppe di Stefano
WertherMaria CallasNicolai GeddaAngela GheorghiuSophie Koch
Wiener BlutElisabeth Schwarzkopf
WozzeckTito GobbiMarilyn Horne


Adam, Adolphe: Nicolai Gedda
Arne, Thomas: Joan Sutherland
Bartók, Béla: Dietrich Fischer-DieskauJohn Tomlinson
Beethoven, Ludwig van: Lotte LehmannJon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
Bellini, Vincenzo: Maria CallasLuciano PavarottiRenata ScottoJoan Sutherland
Berg, Alban: Tito GobbiMarilyn Horne
Berlioz, Hector: Peter GlossopSinging Berlioz, Jon Vickers
Bizet, Georges: Grace Bumbry discusses Carmen, Nicolai GeddaAngela GheorghiuMarilyn HorneSophie KochJon Vickers–A Memoir
Britten, Benjamin: Singing Britten FeaturePeter GlossopJohn Tomlinson, Jon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
Catalani, Alfredo: Renata Scotto
Cherubini, Luigi: Maria Callas
Cilèa, Francesco: Luciano PavarottiGiuseppe di StefanoRenata Tebaldi
Coward, Noël: Joan Sutherland
Debussy, Claude: Pelléas et Mélisande FeatureDietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Singing Debussy
Donizetti, Gaetano: Montserrat CaballéNicolai GeddaLuciano PavarottiRenata ScottoJoan Sutherland
Gounod, Charles: Giuseppe di Stefano
Handel, George Frideric: Marilyn Horne
Heuberger, Richard: Joan Sutherland
Lehàr, Franz: Nicolai Gedda
Leoncavallo, Ruggiero: Saluting Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti
Mascagni, Pietro: Renata Scotto
Massenet, Jules: Montserrat CaballéMaria CallasJosé van Dam discusses Massenet’s ‘Don Quichotte’, Nicolai GeddaAngela GheorghiuSophie KochLotte LehmannRuggero RaimondiJoan SutherlandVirginia Zeani
Meyerbeer, Giacomo: Joan Sutherland
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus: Nicolai GeddaTito GobbiThomas HampsonLuciano PavarottiRuggero RaimondiElisabeth Schwarzkopf
Mussorgsky, Modest:  Ruggero RaimondiJohn Tomlinson
Offenbach, Jacques: Joan Sutherland
Ponchielli, Amilcare: Marilyn HorneLuciano PavarottiRenata ScottoRenata Tebaldi
Poulenc, Francis: Virginia Zeani
Puccini, Giacomo: Montserrat CaballéMaria Callas, Saluting Caruso, Mirella Freni, Nicolai GeddaAngela GheorghiuTito GobbiLotte LehmannLuciano PavarottiRuggero RaimondiRenata ScottoRenata Scotto discusses Madama Butterfly, Giuseppe di StefanoRenata TebaldiVirginia Zeani
Reimann, Aribert: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Rossini, Gioachino: Marilyn HorneJoan SutherlandRenata Tebaldi
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Angela GheorghiuMarilyn HorneJon Vickers–A Memoir
Strauss, Johann: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Strauss, Richard: Singing Strauss FeatureMontserrat CaballéDietrich Fischer-DieskauSophie KochLotte LehmannDeborah Polaski discusses Elektra, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Stravinsky, Igor: Marilyn Horne
Tchaikovsky, Peter: Mirella Freni
Thomas, Ambroise: Thomas HampsonSophie Koch
Verdi, Giuseppe: Grace Bumbry discusses Amneris, Montserrat CaballéMaria CallasSaluting Caruso, Dietrich Fischer-DieskauMirella FreniAngela GheorghiuTito GobbiPeter GlossopThomas Hampson, Thomas Hampson discusses Rodrigue in Verdi’s Don Carlos, Sophie KochLuciano PavarottiRuggero RaimondiRenata ScottoGiuseppe di StefanoJoan SutherlandRenata TebaldiJon VickersJon Vickers–A MemoirVirginia Zeani
Wagner, Richard: Maria CallasDietrich Fischer-DieskauSophie KochLotte LehmannJohn Tomlinson, John Tomlinson discusses Wotan, Jon VickersJon Vickers–A Memoir
Wolf, Hugo: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf