Opera Icons on Desert Island Discs

By Audition Oracle – Wed 24 May 2017 @ 19:41

Opera Icons on Desert Island Discs

Who doesn't love Desert Island Discs? First broadcast in 1942, it is a format that has stood the test of time not least because of its capability to reveal far more about the interviewees than other, more conversational, interview techniques.

For those of us that love opera, the Desert Island Discs Archive offers an extraordinary insight into the lives and music choices of some of the most iconic opera artists of the past 70 years. Perhaps the most infamous episode in the show's history was with the operatic grand dame Elizabeth Schwarzkopf who chose seven of her own recordings, but look beyond this notorious appearance and you will find over eighty historic interviews with the great and good of the opera stage. So dip in to the archive and discover some extraordinary gems. Don't know where to start? Here are a few of our favourites!

Sir Peter Pears (Tenor) 1969 & 1983

Sir Peter Pears

'I wanted to be able to remember a very happy life’

These two interviews give a fascinating insight into Sir Peter's early training and, as you’d expect, the latter interview reveals far more about his relationship with Benjamin Britten than the first.

Jessye Norman (Soprano) 1981

Jessye Norman

Hear about a rather unconventional audition process that led to Jessye Norman winning a career making role in Tannhäuser for Deutsche Oper.


Jonas Kaufman (Tenor) 2015

Jonas Kaufman

An episode when you can hear a giggling Kirsty Young being swept off to the desert island herself by the smooth charm of Mr Kaufman...

Birgit Nilsson (soprano) 1963

Birgit Nilsson

This is pure gold for those that consider Birgit the ultimate Isolde....


John Copley (Director) 2010

John Copley

A hilarious interview into the astonishing life and career of the legendary opera director John Copley.

The Three Tenors, 1976, 1980, 1980

The Three Tenors

Yes! Long before Italia '90 all three tenors had appeared on Desert Island Discs...

Lucian Pavarotti 1976 

Jose Carreras 1980

Placido Domingo 1981

Renata Scotto (Soprano) 1980

Renato Scotto