Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who are the greatest divas (Classic and Contemporary) of them all?”

And the mirror replied, “I’ll tell you right after the jump!”

What a week it’s been, cher public, and La Cieca (speaking on behalf of herself and Jay Caspian Kang) only hopes you’ve been enlightened by our little étude as much as we have found pleasure in bringing a little joy into your humdrum lives.

The scores have been tallied, and all that is left is to view the bubble graphs.


So, now that everything is settled, La Cieca is ready to entertain questions or to…. what’s that? You say the bubble graphs are less than clear in delineating a winner or winners? Oh, well, you’re right, of course, but aren’t all those colorful little bubbles lovely? How they remind La Cieca of the poster for the 1971 revival of No, No, Nanette!

Dear Loni Zoe Ackerman—whatever is she doing with herself these days? ….Oh, yes, of course: the diva rankings!


1 Leontyne Price 830
(tie) 2 Montserrat Caballé 825
(tie) 2 Renata Scotto 825
4 Leonie Rysanek 820
5 Jessye Norman 800
6 Régine Crespin 770
7 Tatiana Troyanos 725
8 Joan Sutherland 710
9 Christa Ludwig 640
10 Marilyn Horne 580
11 Hildegard Behrens 520
12 Mirella Freni 495


1 Edita Gruberova 725
2 Angela Gheorghiu 705
3 Anna Netrebko 690
4 Karita Mattila 680
5 Renée Fleming 675
6 Cecilia Bartoli 605
7 Waltraud Meier 590
8 Dolora Zajick 530
9 Joyce DiDonato 520
10 Natalie Dessay 480

So, what have we learned, cher public?

Well, to begin with: it’s easier to be an older diva than a younger diva. Age adds to the “legendary” quality.

Retirement from the hurly-burly of the operatic stage perhaps adds a luster of soft focus to a diva, glossing over flaws that may have been more apparent when witnessed in real time.

Emotional Journey counts for a lot. Kunst and Stimm are about equally important, but you’d better have a lot of one or the other, or you’re no diva.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t be stingy with the Scandale!

La Cieca now invites the cher public to discuss the rankings, about which she is sure you will all be in complete agreement.

(Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Jay Caspian Kang, who has delighted us so often at Free Darko, also may be heard tweeting at maxpower51.