This was originally posted as a top 10 on the DMDB Facebook page on 2/21/10 and then expanded to a top 50 on 5/2/2011. This list was determined by an aggregate of more than 30 classical-music-focused, best-of lists combined with the works’ standings in the overall Dave’s Music Database. Here’s the top classical works (which includes operas, symphonies, concertos, etc.) according to the DMDB. Note: most of these are considered “albums” based on their lengths. Those works noted with an asterisk (*) are shorter pieces and not considered album-length works.
Check out other best-of-genre/category lists here.
Composer Name of Work (year composition was finished)
1. George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, & Dubose Heyward Porgy and Bess (1935)
2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni (opera, 1787)
3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) (1786)
4. Richard Wagner Der Ring Des Nibelungen (The Ring Cycle) (opera, 1848-1874)
5. Claudio Monteverdi L’Orfeo (Orpheus) (opera, 1607)
6. Johann Sebastian Bach Goldberg Variations (1741)
7. Richard Wagner Tristan Und Isolde (opera, 1857-59)
8. Georges Bizet Carmen (opera, 1873-74)
9. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) (1791)
10. Giacomo Puccini Tosca (opera, 1900)
11. Gioacchino Rossini Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) (opera, 1816)
21. Giacomo Puccini Turandot (1926)
31. Claudio Monteverdi Vespers of the Blessed Virgin (1610)
41. Johann Sebastian Bach Mass in B Minor (1733-1749)
51. Giuseppe Verdi Otello (1887)
61. Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 3 in E-flat “Sinfonia Eroica” (1804)
71. Giuseppe Verdi Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar) (1842)
81. Richard Wagner Parsifal (1882)
91. Franz Schubert Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished”) (1822)
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First posted 2/21/2010; last updated 1/30/2022.