Diva Definition and Examples

Celine DionThe word diva was initially used almost exclusively inside the realm of opera. In time, it came to designate any female singer who is exceedingly famous and/or talented. Nowadays, the diva definition has been stretched beyond its original meaning, so much so that today we can find them even in the world of professional wrestling. However, here on Diva Now the focus is placed particularly on opera divas, and music divas in general. It is worth mentioning that female singers are exclusive to the stage, as cinema has had its share of musical performances, especially in the form of musicals.

Arguably the best known opera diva is Maria Callas, an American soprano of Greek descent whose personal life could have rivaled those of the characters she portrayed on stage, perhaps giving life to the modern stereotype of a gifted yet difficult individual. Lucia Popp, in spite of what her last name might suggest, was also a prominent opera diva. There are several diva video recorded performances by Popp, in roles such as Pamina in The Magic Flute, as well as The Bartered Bride, and Carmina Burana. She also recorded other parts that were not performed onstage, like Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Marzelline in Fidelio.

Outside of opera, there are many music divas in the pop scene, mostly female singers who have had decades long careers, and who are usually cited as influences by younger performers. This description could fit the likes of Barbra Streisand (one of only ten people who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards), Celine Dion (the best-selling Canadian artist of all time), Tina Turner (dubbed The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll), and Madonna (the most successful solo artist in the history of the Billboard chart), for which the modern diva definition seems to have been tailor made.

Opera Scandals

A singer with a career full of scandals is the soprano Sarah Brightman. She married Andrew Graham-Stewart but the marriage only lasts 4 years, and in 1984 she married the producer Andrew Lloyd Weber. Their marriage saw intense media and tabloid attack. In 1999 she acknowledged the marriage as “a difficult time” on an interview. To make matters more difficult, Sarah's husband Lloyd Weber suffered from prostate cancer, a disease that commonly causes erectile dysfunction.

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