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Operatic Baby Names

Operatic Baby Names
You don’t have to be an opera buff to appreciate the rich variety of baby names found in the classic repertoire. It’s an especially appealing category because it contains such an interesting mix of languages: there are frilly French female names, unusual Italian male names, as well as some usable German and Russian character names. These range from leads such as Aida and Tristan, to featured players to those with minor roles.

Along with Tristan, other operatic baby names in the US Top 1000 include Andres, Bianca, Carmen, Elena, Giovanni, Lucia, Rocco, and Romeo. Rare names with strong ties to the opera include Fiorello, Musetta, and Violetta.

Omitting common names like Amelia, Norma and Susanna, and the more uber-the-top names like Brunhilde, here are some lyrical opera baby names:
  1. ElenaHeart
    • Origin:

      Spanish, Italian, German, Greek variation of Helen
    • Meaning:

      "bright, shining light"
    • Description:

      Elena, a pan-European version of Helen, has roots in Spanish, Italian, Slavic, and Romanian, among others. Helen, the name from which it derives, came from the Greek word helene, meaning "torch." Alternate spellings include Elaina, Ellena, and Alena.
  2. LuciaHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian, feminine variation of Lucius, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "light"
    • Description:

      Lucia is derived from lux, the Latin word for light. It is considered to be the feminine form of Lucius as well as the Latinate spelling of Lucy. Due to its connection to light, Lucia was traditionally given to babies born as daylight was breaking.
  3. IsoldeHeart
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "ice ruler"
    • Description:

      Now that Tristan has been rediscovered, maybe it's time for his fabled lover in the Arthurian romances and Wagnerian opera, a beautiful Irish princess, to be brought back into the light as well.
  4. TristanHeart
    • Origin:

      Celtic
    • Meaning:

      "noise or sorrowful"
    • Description:

      Tristan -- known through medieval legend and Wagnerian opera -- has a slightly wistful, touching air. This, combined with the name's popular "an" ending, makes Tristan very appealing to parents seeking a more original alternative to Christian.
  5. BiancaHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian
    • Meaning:

      "white"
    • Description:

      Bianca, the livelier Italian and Shakespearean version of Blanche, has been chosen by many American parents since the 1990s, just as Blanca is a favorite in the Spanish-speaking community. It's meaning of white relates to snow, making it one of the prime names for winter babies.
  6. RomeoHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian
    • Meaning:

      "pilgrim to Rome, Roman"
    • Description:

      It wasn't so long ago that Romeo was considered as outre for an American baby as Casanova or Cupid. But that really changed when David and Victoria Beckham chose it for their second son in 2002, a path followed by Jon Bon Jovi.
  7. ElsaHeart
    • Origin:

      German diminutive of Elisabeth
    • Meaning:

      "pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Lost in limbo for decades and decades, Elsa now stands a good chance of following along in the progression from Emma to Ella to Etta, thanks to the ice queen heroine who "Let It Go" in the wildly popular Disney movie Frozen. The name shot all the up to Number 286 (its highest ranking since the 1890s) in the year after the release of the movie, though it's now dropped back down the list in the US.
  8. JulietteHeart
    • Origin:

      French from Latin
    • Meaning:

      "little Julia"
    • Description:

      Juliette, pronounced with the emphasis on the last syllable, adds a little something extra to Juliet. In the past years it has been rising up the chart.
  9. CarmenHeart
    • Origin:

      Spanish variation of Carmel
    • Meaning:

      "garden"
    • Description:

      Carmen has long been associated with the sensuous, tragic heroine of Bizet's opera, based on a novel by Prosper Merimee; more recently it has called to mind two other bombshells: Carmen Miranda (born Maria) and Carmen Electra (born Tara), as well as the great jazz singer Carmen McRae. In the celebrity baby name world, this classic Spanish name for girls was used by Hilaria and Alec Baldwin for their daughter.
  10. LeonoraHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian diminutive of Eleonora or Eleanor, meaning unknown
    • Description:

      Its mellifluous sound makes Leonora--which has a rich history and a tie to the popular Leo names-- a keen possibility for revival. Though it's been hiding below the Top 1000 since the 1940s, Leonora is being rediscovered by stylish parents in the US and Europe.
      Leonora has the distinction of being three major opera characters, including the heroines of Beethoven's Fidelio and Verdi's Il Trovatore. It was also the name of two characters played by Elizabeth Taylor--in Secret Ceremony and Reflections in a Golden Eye.
  11. AidaHeart
    • Origin:

      Arabic
    • Meaning:

      "happy"
    • Description:

      Aida is a melodic name largely associated with the title character of the 1871 Verdi opera, an enslaved Ethiopian princess who dies to save her people. In the past, her name was rarely heard outside the Latino community, but in the current time of love for all A-starting girls' names, this could very well change.
  12. RoccoHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian from German
    • Meaning:

      "rest"
    • Description:

      Madonna did much to polish up the image of this old-neighborhood Italian choice when she picked it for her son with British director Guy Ritchie, and several years later it was also used by Rose Byrne and Bobby Canavale for their son. It now feels much more mainstream than many celebrity baby names, sharing the quirky appeal of some other so-far-out-they're-in baby names as Bruno and Hugo.
  13. GiovanniHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian variation of John
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      Giovanni is a venerable Italian classic that suddenly sounds fresh and cool. Ubiquitous in Italy, it has countless notable namesakes, from writer Boccaccio to designer Versace (nn Gianni).
  14. ManonHeart
    • Origin:

      French, diminutive of Marie
    • Meaning:

      "bitter"
    • Description:

      Manon is an endearing French pet name for Marie or Marianne; it has the international yet straightforward feel that makes it a viable import. Manon of the Spring was a gorgeous French film, Manon Lescaut a 1731 novel by Abbe Prevost, set in France and Louisiana, that was controversial in its day. It formed the basis of operas by Puccini and Massenet, and several films and TV series.
  15. MargueriteHeart
    • Origin:

      French variation of Margaret; also a flower name
    • Meaning:

      "pearl; daisy"
    • Description:

      Marguerite is a classic French name with a remnant of old-fashioned Gallic charm; and is also a variety of daisy. Chic again in Paris, it's definitely ripe for revival here.
  16. MimiHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Mary, Miriam, and others
    • Description:

      Sweet, nicknamey name belonging to the tragic heroines of both La Bohème and Rent. Mimi might feel too slight for many parents to use on the birth certificate, but as a short form, it's one of the cutest of the cute baby names
  17. MarcelloHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian and Spanish
    • Meaning:

      "young warrior"
    • Description:

      Based on the ancient name Marcellus, drawn from Mars the god of war, Marcello -- it's pronounced mar-chell-o -- is one of the most lush and attractive Latin names.
  18. ViolettaHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian
    • Meaning:

      "purple"
    • Description:

      Violetta is a more vibrantly colored, feminissima form of Violet. It is the name of the heroine of the Verdi opera La Traviata--in fact Violetta was the original title of the work.
  19. SenecaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin surname and Native American
    • Meaning:

      "people of the standing rock"
    • Description:

      Seneca's distinguished heritage as the name of the ancient Roman philosopher-playwright who tutored Nero, and of an Iroquois tribe makes this an interesting choice for either sex.
  20. MichaelaHeart
    • Origin:

      Feminine variation of Michael
    • Meaning:

      "who is like God"
    • Description:

      This most proper form of the name shot up the charts in the nineties, only to sink just as precipitously, supplanted by upstarts Makayla and McKayla ad infinitum.