It is not easy to determine the ten most popular operas. One can look at the number of performances worldwide, conduct a survey, determine which operas are best attended, and also compare sales of opera music. However, no one can dispute that for many Italian opera is the greatest and a list of the most popular operas always includes Italian ones.
One of the most famous opera houses, the Metropolitan Opera of New York, has eight Italian operas among the ten most performed operas. The two exceptions are the French operas Carmen and Faust. Here are the ten most performed operas at the Metropolitan Opera through March 14, 2009:
1) Giacomo Puccini La Boheme
2) Giuseppe Verdi Aida
3) Giuseppe Verdi La Traviata
4) Georges Bizet Carmen
5) Giacomo Puccini Tosca
6) Giacomo Puccini Madama Butterfly
7) Giuseppe Verdi Rigoletto
8) Charles Gounod Faust
9) Ruggero Leoncavallo Pagliacci
10) Pietro Mascagni Cavalleria Rusticana
From the list of the ten most performed operas at the Metropolitan Opera, it is clear that Italian opera is very popular. Also evident is that the composers Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi both created operas with lasting popularity. Of the ten operas on the list, they composed more than half of them- six out of ten.