The Most Beautiful Songs by Famous Composers to Sing
Classical singers have a vast array of pieces to choose from and the Tomplay catalogue is no different. To help you narrow down your choice in repertoire, we've created three types of collections for vocalists: the most beautiful pieces by famous composers (such as Verdi and Purcell), the most beautiful pieces to sing by period (for example, Baroque), and the most beautiful opera arias to sing. Whether you are preparing for an audition or training your voice in a particular style, you can find everything you need in these collections.
Every collection is available for all vocal ranges: soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass. The lyrics are provided on the score so you can easily sing along with the piece, accompanied by high-quality backing tracks. You can also choose the key of the piece to suit your voice.
Nabucco - Va, Pensiero by Verdi
Most musicians and historians agree that Giuseppe Verdi was the best Italian opera composer of all time. He was born in 1813 in Busseto, Northern Italy and took an interest in music from a young age. The opera house La Scala staged his first opera, Oberto, in 1839 followed by his second opera Un Giorno di Regno. Sadly the second opera was a complete failure, and during this period Verdi’s two children and wife all passed away within three months, leaving the composer devastated.
He eventually began to write again, starting with the opera Nabucco. Unlike his former opera, this opera premiere in 1842 was a success and confirmed his status as a gifted opera composer. The opera tells the story of the struggle of the Israelites against Nabucco, the King of Babylon. Va, Pensiero (Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) is a famous lament for a lost homeland, performed by the Israelistes. When Verdi died in Milan in 1901, his funeral procession was a time for large-scale public mourning. 300,000 people gathered in the streets that day and sang Va, pensiero in honour of the composer.
The original vocal sheet music of Va, Pensiero by Verdi is choir sheet music but thanks to Tomplay, you can sing the opera sheet music of this song in your vocal range with the lyrics. It is available for soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass. Plus, you can choose the key that suits your voice and sing along to Va, Pensiero, accompanied by the piano. Thanks to our partnership with Deutsche Grammophon, there is also a recording included by Claudio Abbado that you can listen to for pleasure or for inspiration!
This piece is part of our collection of The Most Beautiful Pieces by Verdi to Sing, which is available in two volumes for all vocal ranges.
Turandot - Nessun Dorma by Puccini
Giacomo Puccini’s name is often mentioned in relation to Verdi, as many view him as Verdi’s successor. While his early work was clearly rooted in the Romantic Italian opera style, he later became known for writing in the style of “verismo” (realism), an Italian operatic tradition.
His final opera was Turandot and it was unfinished at the time of his death in 1924, so Franco Alfano completed it two years later in 1926. That same year, it was performed in Milan and became very successful. The opera tells the story of the cruel princess Turandot who has many suitors desperate to marry her, all of whom are ready to sacrifice their life in the hope of being with her. Only Prince Calaf manages to escape this cruel destiny.
Nessun Dorma is without a doubt Puccini’s most famous opera aria, and part of the final act of Turandot. The song is written for a tenor and performed by Prince Calaf. It has been described by critics as ‘harrowing’, ‘heart-wrenching’ and ‘poignant’. The most well-known version of this famous opera aria for tenors is, without a doubt, Luciano Pavarotti’s 1972 version.
The song begins slowly and calmly with a lyrical melody. The vocal part climbs throughout the song, which requires singers to exert excellent control over the higher passages. The final peak of the song is a wonderful explosion of emotion and although the last note is a semibreve in Puccini’s original score, most tenors who perform the song hold it for a lot longer, thereby creating a more dramatic ending.
Tomplay offers the vocal sheet music of Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot for soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass so everyone can sing along with this famous opera aria. The lyrics are provided in the score as well as the orchestral accompaniment, and you can transpose the piece to suit your voice. Plus, there is a recording of the piece performed by Plácido Domingo, thanks to our partnership with Deutsche Grammophon. Listen to his wonderful recording for pleasure or for inspiration!
Discover other famous opera arias and vocal sheet music by Puccini in our collections of The Most Beautiful Pieces by Puccini to Sing.
Dido and Aeneas - When I Am Laid in Earth by Purcell
Henry Purcell was born in England in 1659, at a time when opera was becoming a popular genre. By the age of 23, he had held several prestigious posts, including organist of Westminster Abbey. Throughout his life he wrote many works which are now considered excellent examples of the Baroque era.
He composed Dido and Aeneas in the late 17th century, with the premiere in 1689. It is considered one of the most popular operas of all time and is about the relationship between Dido, Queen of Carthage, and the Trojan prince Aeneas. Sadly, their partnership is sabotaged by witches looking to destroy Carthage.
When I Am Laid in Earth is a moving aria sung by Dido, just before she commits suicide. It is also known as Dido’s Lament. This famous opera aria includes many interesting elements for singers, such as word painting and chromatic passages.
The vocal sheet music for When I Am Laid in Earth by Purcell is available for soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass. You can choose your vocal range, key, and sing along to this wonderful opera aria, accompanied by a high-quality recording of the orchestra.
For more vocal sheet music by Purcell, browse our collections of The Most Beautiful Pieces by Purcell to Sing - there are two volumes available.
Serse - Overture: Ombra Mai Fu by Handel
Another legendary Baroque composer is George Frideric Handel. He was born in Germany in 1685 but after spending most of his professional life working in London, he became a naturalised English citizen. The list of Handel’s vocal works is endless and he mastered the art of choral sheet music, for example the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah.
Handel composed over 40 operas, including the famous Serse (1738). The story takes place in the Persian Empire in 470 B.C. and is inspired by the emperor Xerxes 1 of Persia. The opera itself was a complete flop, however the aria Ombra Mai Fu was discovered in the 19th century, and became one of the most famous opera arias of all time. It is a song performed by the main character Xerxes (Serse), as he rejoices in the shade of a plane tree. This piece is set to Italian lyrics and includes Baroque ornamentation, word painting and a wide vocal range.
Tomplay offers the vocal sheet music of Ombra Mai Fu from Handel’s opera Serse for all vocal ranges: soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass. There are a variety of keys to choose from and the Italian lyrics are provided. Sing along with the orchestral accompaniment of this famous opera aria.
This song is part of our collections of The Most Beautiful Pieces by Handel to Sing, available for all vocal ranges.
L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) - Una furtiva lagrima. Romance by Donizetti
The final vocal sheet music we’d like to highlight in this article is a piece by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. His name is synonymous with bel canto, a style of singing associated with Italian vocal music in the 18th and 19th centuries. In his lifetime, Donizetti wrote over 70 operas!
L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) is an opera from 1832 about lovestruck peasant Nemorino who is madly in love with Adina, a wealthy and educated woman who pretends not to be interested in him. His only hope is to take an “elixir”, but it turns out to just be red wine! Una furtiva lagrima is a romanzo by Donizetti from Act II. It is performed after Nemorino buys a vial of “elixir” from a charlatan, thinking that it contains an elixir of love that will make Adina fall in love with him. He sees Adina weeping and Nemorino interprets her tears as a sign of her love for him, so he sings of his joy at being loved.
Despite the happy theme of the piece, it is written in B-flat minor, a key that is often used to represent tragedy. This vocal sheet music is originally written for a tenor and has many sustained notes and grace notes to get to grips with.
The vocal sheet music for Una furtiva lagrima from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore is available for soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass with the Italian lyrics included. You can choose your key and sing along with this famous opera aria by Donizetti. Plus, there is a recording of the piece performed by Plácido Domingo included, thanks to our partnership with Deutsche Grammophon. Listen to his wonderful recording for pleasure or for inspiration!
To sing along with other famous opera arias, take a look at our collections of The Most Beautiful Opera Arias to Sing. Donizetti’s song is also part of our collection of The Most Beautiful Romantic Pieces to Sing - have a browse to discover more wonderful Romantic songs!