List of historical opera characters

Alexander the Great who appears as a character in over seventy operas, including two by George Frideric Handel

This is a list of historical figures who have been characters in opera or operetta.

Historical accuracy in such works has often been subject to the imperatives of dramatic presentation. Consequently, in many cases:

  • historical characters appear alongside fictional characters
  • historical characters who never met, or whose lives did not even overlap, appear on stage together
  • historical events depicted are transported to earlier or later times or to different places
  • historical people are seen participating in entirely fictional events, or vice versa
  • the actions of historical people are attributed to other persons

For the purposes of this list, Biblical characters are generally taken to be fictional, unless there is clear evidence of their historicity.

Operas appear in bold when the historical figure is also the title role.

Where a character appears in more than opera, the entries are sorted by composer.

List of historical figures


Abdisho IV Maron, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church

Peter Abelard, French priest, scholar, theologian

John Quincy Adams, American President

Gabriele Adorno, fifth Doge of Genoa

Flavius Aetius, Roman general

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, German alchemist, writer

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Roman statesman and general

Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, Roman consul (32 BC)

Pharaoh Akhenaten of Egypt

3rd Duke of Alba, Governor of the Spanish Netherlands

Albert of Mainz, Elector and Archbishop of Mainz

Buzz Aldrin, American astronaut

Alexander the Great, King of Macedon

(He appears in about 70 other operas set to the same text by Metastasio as used by Pacini, including one by Leonardo Vinci.)

Emperor Alexander Severus of Rome

Tsar Alexander I of Russia

Brigadier General Edward Porter Alexander, American military commander

Tsarina Alexandra of Russia, consort of Tsar Nicholas II

Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich of Russia, son of Peter the Great

Saint Alexius of Rome

Alfonso I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, husband of Lucrezia Borgia

Alfonso II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara

King Alfonso XI of Castile

King Alfred the Great, legendary Anglo-Saxon king

Dante Alighieri: see Dante

Almanzor (Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir), de facto ruler of al-Andalus

Pedro de Alvarado, Spanish conquistador

Amalasuntha, Queen of the Ostrogoths

Anacreon, Greek lyric poet

Jacob Johan Anckarström, Swedish military officer, assassin of Gustav III

Tommaso Aniello: see Masaniello

Anne of Bavaria, Holy Roman Empress, Queen of Rome and Bavaria

Queen Anne of Great Britain

Queen Anne (Boleyn), second consort of Henry VIII of England

Queen Anne (Neville), consort of Richard III of England

Saint Anthony the Great

Susan B. Anthony, American women’s rights activist

Antiochus I Soter, King of the Seleucid Empire

Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, British socialite and sexual celebrity

Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt, Finnish-Swedish diplomat, possible lover of Gustav III of Sweden

Arminius, Germanic chieftain

Edwin H. Armstrong, American radio pioneer, inventor of FM radio transmission

Artabanus of Persia, political figure

King Artaxerxes I of Persia

(He appears in over 40 other operas set to the same text from Metastasio's libretto Artaserse)

King Arthur, legendary king of Britain

Chester A. Arthur, American President

Ulrica Arfvidsson, Swedish fortune-teller

Emanuele d'Astorga, Italian composer

Atahualpa, Inca sovereign emperor

Attila the Hun

Atys, son of King Croesus of Lydia

Caesar Augustus, Roman Emperor

Aurelian, Emperor of Rome

Pharaoh Ay of Egypt


Francis Bacon, Irish painter

Cardinal Maffeo Barberini: see Pope Urban VIII

Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly, Russian prince and general

Brigitte Bardot, French actress

Pyotr Fyodorovich Basmanov, Russian boyar

Daisy Bates, Irish-Australian indigenous welfare worker and anthropologist

Bayezid I "The Thunderbolt", Ottoman Sultan

Pierre Beaumarchais, French playwright

Saint Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury

Belisarius, Byzantine general

Augustin Daniel Belliard, French general

Belshazzar, Prince of Babylon

Olga Benário Prestes, German-Brazilian communist militant

Levin August, Count von Bennigsen, German general

Queen Berenice III of Egypt

Louis-Alexandre Berthier, Marshal of France

Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States

Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of Germany

Harman Blennerhassett, Irish-American lawyer

Blondel de Nesle, French troubador

Boabdil: see Muhammad XII of Granada

Francisco de Bobadilla, Spanish colonial administrator

Giovanni Boccaccio, Italian writer, poet

Simone Boccanegra, first Doge of Genoa

George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford, brother of Anne Boleyn

Simón Bolívar, South American revolutionary

Caroline Bonaparte, Queen Consort of Naples and Sicily, sister of Napoleon
Pauline Bonaparte, Princess of France, sister of Napoleon

Lizzie Borden, American celebrity and possible axe-murderer

Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer

Saint Francis Borgia, 4th Duke of Gandía, Spanish Superior-General of the Jesuits

Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI

Saint Charles Borromeo, Italian cardinal

Đurađ Branković, Serbian despot

Prince Braslav of Pannonian Croatia

Ed Broadbent, Canadian politician

Gian Francesco Brogni, Italian cardinal

John Hobhouse, 1st Baron Broughton, British memoirist and politician

John Brown, Sergeant of the Second Battalion, Boston Light Infantry Volunteer Militia

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Flemish painter

Antonín Brus z Mohelnice, Archbishop of Prague

Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger, Roman politician, co-assassin of Julius Caesar

William Jennings Bryan, American Secretary of State, presidential candidate

Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1st creation)

George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (2nd creation), English poet, statesman

Gautama Buddha

Johannes Bureus, Swedish scholar

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, English statesman, adviser to Elizabeth I

Aaron Burr, third Vice President of the United States

Anne Isabella Byron, Baroness Byron, wife of Lord Byron

Lord Byron, English poet


Cacamatzin, Aztec king

Alessandro Cagliostro (Giuseppe Balsamo), Italian adventurer and imposter

Maria Callas, American-Greek opera singer

Luís de Camões, Portuguese poet

Kim Campbell, Prime Minister of Canada

Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, British socialite

Lorenzo Campeggio, Cardinal Protector of England

Canek, Aztec High Priest

Wolfgang Capito, German religious reformer

Gerolamo Cardano, Italian mathematician and physician

Carlos, Prince of Asturias, son of Philip II of Spain

Julian Carlton, American murderer of Mamah Cheney, mistress of Frank Lloyd Wright

Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor

Giacomo Casanova, Italian adventurer and libertine

Servilius Casca, co-assassin of Julius Caesar
Gaius Cassius Longinus, Roman politician, co-assassin of Julius Caesar

Fidel Castro, Cuban leader

Inês de Castro, lover and lawful wife of King Peter I of Portugal

Sir William Catesby

Empress Catherine I of Russia

Empress Catherine II "The Great" of Russia

Queen Catherine (of Aragon), first wife of Henry VIII of England

Queen Catherine (Parr), sixth and last wife of Henry VIII

Pierre Cauchon, French bishop

Armand Augustin Louis de Caulaincourt, French general

Guido Cavalcanti, Florentine poet

Arthur Cecil, English actor, theatre manager

Cecily Neville, Duchess of York

Benvenuto Cellini, Italian sculptor, goldsmith, artisan

Beatrice Cenci, Italian noblewoman, protagonist of a famous murder trial

Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish writer

Lindy Chamberlain and Michael Chamberlain, Australian parents wrongly convicted of the murder of their daughter Azaria

Charles Chaplin, British actor

Charlemagne, King of the Franks

King Charles II of England

King Charles II of Spain

Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

King Charles VI of France

King Charles VII of France

King Charles XI of Sweden

Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy

Charles Martel, Duke and Prince of the Franks

Charmian, servant to Cleopatra

Thomas Chatterton, English poet and forger

Geoffrey Chaucer, English author, poet, philosopher, courtier and diplomat

Danny Chen, American army private who committed suicide in Afghanistan

Edwin Cheney, American electrical engineer
Mamah Cheney, wife of Edwin Cheney, murdered mistress of Frank Lloyd Wright

André Chénier, French journalist

Sir Richard Cholmondeley, Lieutenant of the Tower of London

Frédéric Chopin, Polish-French composer

Chou En-lai: see Zhou Enlai

Jean Chrétien, Canadian Prime Minister

Christina, Queen of Sweden

Saint Christopher, revered but legendary saint

Tillius Cimber, co-assassin of Julius Caesar

Helvius Cinna, Roman poet

Lucius Cornelius Cinna, Roman consul

Henri Coiffier de Ruzé, Marquis of Cinq-Mars, French royal favourite of Louis XIII

George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence

Emperor Claudius of Rome

Cleitus the Black, Macedonian soldier

Pope Clement VII

Cleopatra VII, Pharaoh of Egypt

Henry Clifford, 10th Baron de Clifford, English military commander

Bill Clinton, US President

  • Bonnie Montgomery: Billy Blythe

Hillary Clinton, American First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State

Olivier de Clisson, Breton soldier

Cloelia, early Roman figure, possibly legendary

Robert Coates, Canadian politician

Howell Cobb, American political figure

Walter Cocking, dean at the University of Georgia, the focus of the "Cocking affair"

Horatius Cocles, Roman military officer

Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, Roman consul, husband of Lucretia

Stefano Colonna (1265–1348), Roman political figure

Christopher Columbus, Genoese explorer of the New World

Anthony Comstock, American morals campaigner

Emperor Constantine I "The Great" of Rome

Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish scientist

Charlotte Corday, French Girondin revolutionary

Saint Corentin of Quimper, Breton patron saint of seafood

Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, legendary Roman leader

Catherine Cornaro, consort of James II of Cyprus

Giorgio Cornaro, Italian nobleman, father of Catherine Cornaro

Jeronimus Cornelisz, Dutch apothecary and merchant

Hernán Cortés, Spanish conquistador

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

Marcus Licinius Crassus, Roman general and politician

Flavius Julius Crispus, Caesar of the Roman Empire

Croesus, King of Lydia

Oliver Cromwell, English Puritan leader

Cuauhtémoc, Aztec king

Sir Henry Cuffe, English politician

Cyrano de Bergerac, French dramatist and duellist

Cyrus the Great, King of Persia


Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter

Dalibor of Kozojed, Czech knight

Dante Alighieri, Italian poet

Georges Danton, French revolutionary figure

Jacques d'Arc, French farmer, father of Joan of Arc

King Darius III of Persia

Sir William Davenant, English poet and playwright

Louis-Nicolas Davout, Marshal of France

Gotse Delchev, Macedonian revolutionary figure

Marion Delorme, French courtesan

Camille Desmoulins, French revolutionary journalist, politician

Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Spanish conquistador

Jimena Díaz, wife of El Cid, ruler of Valencia

Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, "El Cid"

Georgi Dimitrov, Bulgarian Communist leader

Emperor Diocletian of Rome

Tsar Dmitri Ioannovich of Russia, the so-called "False Dmitriy I"

Dmitry Donskoy, Prince of Moscow, Grand Prince of Vladimir

Dobrynya Nikitich, legendary Kievan bogatyr

Publius Cornelius Dolabella, Roman general

Saint Dominic, Domingo de Guzman, founder of the Dominicans

Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas, English writer, lover of Oscar Wilde

  • Theodore Morrison: Oscar (non-singing role)

James Douglas, Lord of Douglas, Scots soldier, known as the "Black Douglas"

Frederick Douglass, African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman

György Dózsa, Hungarian leader of peasant revolt

Sir Francis Drake, English adventurer, pirate, politician

John Dryden, English poet

King Duncan I of Scotland


Ana de Mendoza, Princess of Éboli, Spanish aristocrat

Nelson Eddy, American tenor, actor

King Edward II of England

King Edward III of England

King Edward IV of England
King Edward V of England (as Prince Edward)

King Edward VI of England

  • Priit Pajusaar: The Prince and the Pauper (2013)[2]

Adolf Eichmann, German Nazi SS Head

Albert Einstein, German-American scientist

Emperor Elagabalus of Rome (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus)

Eleanor of Austria, Queen Consort of Portugal and France

Eleanor of Guzman, mistress of King Alfonso XI of Castile and mother of Henry II

Elisabeth, Queen of Bohemia

Elisabeth Farnese, Queen Consort to Philip V of Spain

Elisabeth of Valois, daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici, wife of Philip II of Spain

Elisiv of Kiev

Queen Elizabeth I of Castile: see Queen Isabella I of Castile

Queen Elizabeth I of England (see also Category:Operas about Elizabeth I of England)

Queen Elizabeth (Woodville), consort of King Edward IV of England

Fanny Elssler, Austrian ballerina

Ninon de l'Enclos, French courtesan

Enzio of Sardinia, king of Sardinia

Erasistratus, Greek anatomist, physician

King Eric V of Denmark

José de Espronceda, Spanish poet

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, Elizabethan courtier and royal favourite

Frances, Countess of Essex, English noblewoman

Eufrosinia, daughter of Yaroslav Osmomysl, Prince of Halych


Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice

Farinelli, Italian castrato singer

Philo Farnsworth, American television pioneer

Fausta Flavia Maxima, Empress of Rome, second wife of Constantine the Great

Charles Simon Favart, French dramatist

Marie Favart, French opera singer, actress

Dianne Feinstein, American politician

Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor

King Ferdinand I of León and Castile

Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor

King Ferdinand II of Aragon (and Ferdinand V of Castile)

King Ferdinand VI of Spain

Roger de Flor, German-born soldier serving Aragon kings

Errol Flynn, Australian-American film actor

James Forrestal, US Secretary of Defense

  • Evan Hause: Nightingale: The Last Days of James Forrestal

Francesco Foscari, Doge of Venice

Joseph Fouché, Duke of Otranto

Francesca da Rimini, contemporary and literary subject of Dante

Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscans

King Francis I of France

Anne Frank, Dutch diarist

Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria

John Allen Fraser, Canadian politician

Fredegund, Merovingian Queen Consort

Frederick I "Barbarossa", Holy Roman Emperor

King Frederick II "The Great" of Prussia

Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg

Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg

Friedrich Friesen, German gymnast and soldier

Jean Froissart, French chronicler

Georg von Frundsberg, South German knight

Tsar Fyodor II of Russia, son of Boris Godunov


Galileo Galilei, Italian scientist

Vasily Vasilyevich Galitzine, Russian statesman

Galla Placidia, Roman regent, daughter of Emperor Theodosius I

  • Jaume Pahissa i Jo: Gal·la Placídia (1913)

Vasco da Gama, Portuguese explorer

Count Peter Gamba, associate of Lord Byron

Mahatma Gandhi, Indian freedom advocate

Garcilaso de la Vega, Spanish poet and soldier

Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italian freedom fighter

Margaret "Peggy" Garner, American slave who killed her own daughter rather than allow the child to be returned to slavery

Antoni Gaudí, Catalan architect

Paul Gauguin, French painter

King George III of the United Kingdom

Priscilla German Reed, English singer and actress
Thomas German Reed, English composer and theatre manager

Carlo Gesualdo, Italian composer and murderer

Allen Ginsberg, American poet

Lisa del Giocondo, Italian woman, subject of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa

Salvatore Giuliano, Sicilian peasant

Godfrey of Bouillon, Frankish knight, leader of the First Crusade

Boris Godunov, Tsar of Russia

Xenia Borisovna Godunova, daughter of Boris Godunov

Sir Eugene Goossens, English conductor and composer

  • Drew Crawford: Eugene & Roie

Violet Gordon-Woodhouse, English harpsichordist

St Maria Goretti, 20th century Catholic martyr

Sidney Gottlieb,

Francisco Goya, Spanish painter

Princess Grace of Monaco, American-born actress (as Grace Kelly)

Antonio Gramsci, Italian political theorist

Urbain Grandier, French priest

Julia Dent Grant, American First Lady

Ulysses S. Grant, American President

Thomas Gray, English poet

Edvard Grieg, Norwegian composer
Nina Grieg, Norwegian singer, cousin and wife of Edvard Grieg

Gen Leslie Groves, American military officer

Matthias Grünewald, German renaissance painter

Teresa, Contessa Guiccioli, Italian mistress of Lord Byron

Guinevere, wife of King Arthur of Britain

Francis, Duke of Guise, French nobleman

Günther von Schwarzburg, German king

Saint Guntram, King of Burgundy

King Gustav I of Sweden

King Gustav III of Sweden

Nell Gwyn, English actress, mistress of King Charles II


Hadrian, Roman emperor

Emma, Lady Hamilton, English mistress of Horatio, Lord Nelson
Sir William Hamilton, British diplomat, husband of Emma, Lady Hamilton

Hannibal, Carthaginian ruler

King Harald Hardrada (Harald III of Norway)

Sir Thomas Hardy, 1st Baronet, British sea captain, commander of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar

Harold Godwinson (Harold II), Anglo-Saxon King of England

Frank Harris, Irish-American journalist, publisher

Harun al-Rashid, Abbasid Caliph

Hasdrubal Gisco, Carthaginian general

William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings

Richard Hauptmann, American convicted murderer

  • Cary John Franklin: Loss of Eden [3]

Wiebbe Hayes, Dutch soldier

Heloïse, French nun associated with Peter Abelard

Sally Hemings, American mixed-race slave owned by Thomas Jefferson

Henri, Prince of Condé, French noble

Henrietta Maria of France, queen consort of Charles I of England

Henry I, Duke of Guise

King Henry II of England

King Henry III of Castile

King Henry III of France also as Henri de Valois, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania

King Henry IV of France

King Henry V of England

King Henry VII of England (as Henry, Duke of Richmond)

King Henry VIII of England

Henry the Fowler, Duke of Saxony, King of the Germans

Henry the Lion, German prince (Henry III of Saxony, Henry XII of Bavaria)

Marie-Jean Hérault de Séchelles, French revolutionary politician

Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia

E. T. A. Hoffmann, German author

Fanny Holland, English singer and actress

Clasina Maria "Sien" Hoornik (1850–1904), Dutch alcoholic prostitute, sometime lover of Vincent van Gogh

Pharaoh Horemheb of Egypt

Count Claes Fredrik Horn, co-conspirator with Anckarström in the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden

Harry Houdini, Hungarian-American escapologist

Ladislaus Hunyadi, Hungarian statesman

Stig Andersen Hvide, Danish marshal, later an outlaw

Queen Hypsicratea of Pontus, consort of Mithradates VI


Muhammad al-Idrisi, Andalusian cartographer, traveller

Gwen Ifill, American television journalist

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish knight, founder of the Society of Jesus

Igor Svyatoslavich, Prince of Putivl, Novgorod-Seversk and Chernigov

Jaakko Ilkka, Finnish peasant leader

Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden

John Ireland, Dean of Westminster

Isabeau of Bavaria, Queen Consort of Charles VI of France

Isabel Moctezuma (Teutile), daughter of Moctezuma II

Queen Isabella I of Castile

Isabella of France, Queen Consort of Edward II of England and mother of Edward III

Isabella of Portugal, Holy Roman Empress, Queen Consort of Aragon and Castile

Tsar Ivan IV of Russia, "Ivan the Terrible"

Izumi Shikibu, Japanese poet


Jack the Ripper, unidentified murderer of English prostitutes

King James II of Cyprus "James the Bastard of Lusignan"

King James V of Scotland

Lady Jane Grey, disputed Queen of England

Queen Jane (Seymour), third consort of Henry VIII of England

Thomas Jefferson, American President

Jérôme Bonaparte, King of Westphalia

Jesus of Nazareth and his apostles

Jiang Qing Chinese figure, 4th wife of Mao Zedong

St Joan of Arc, French saint (see also Category:Operas about Joan of Arc)

Joan I of Naples, Queen of Naples

Joanna of Castile, Queen of Castile and Aragon

Patriarch Job of Moscow, Russian Orthodox prelate

John, Prince of Asturias, Spanish prince, son of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile

King John of England

Don John of Austria, Bavarian soldier in Spanish service, son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

John of Leiden, Dutch Anabaptist leader

Andrew Johnson, American President

Lyndon B. Johnson, American President

  • Evan Hause: Nightingale: The Last Days of James Forrestal

Ben Jonson, English poet

Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor

Joséphine de Beauharnais, Consort of Napoleon I

Julia Caesaris, daughter of Julius Caesar, 4th wife of Pompey the Great

Julius Caesar, Consul and Dictator of Rome


Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter

Christoph Kaufmann (or Kauffman), associate of Jakob Lenz

Grace Kelly: see Princess Grace of Monaco

Ned Kelly, Australian outlaw and folk hero

  • Luke Styles: Ned Kelly[4]

John F. Kennedy, American President

Johannes Kepler, German astronomer, mathematician

Ivan Andreyevich Khovansky, "Tararui" (chatterbox), Russian boyar

Edgar Ray Killen, KKK leader, murderer

Larry King, American talk-show host

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Henry Kissinger, American Secretary of State

Aleksis Kivi, Finnish writer

Leon Klinghoffer, American ship passenger murdered by terrorists

Vasily Kochubey, Cossack hetman, associate of Ivan Mazepa

Konchak, Polovtsian khan
Konchakovna, his daughter

Theodor Körner, German poet and soldier

Maria Korp, Australian murder victim

Anne Kronenberg, American political administrator

Kublai Khan, Grand Khan of the Mongol Empire

Mikhail Kutuzov, Russian field marshal


Ladislaus I of Poland: see Władysław I the Elbow-high

Ladislaus the Posthumous, Duke of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia

Lady Caroline Lamb, lover of Lord Byron

Anne Françoise Elisabeth Lange, French actress, known as "Mademoiselle Lange"

Adrienne Lecouvreur, French actress

(Eleanor) Agnes Lee, daughter of Robert E. Lee
Mary Anna Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee

General Robert E. Lee

François Joseph Lefebvre, Marshal of France, Duke of Danzig

His wife, née Cathérine Hubscher, later Duchess of Danzig

Guillaume Le Gentil, French astronomer

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, English courtier, favourite of Elizabeth I

Augusta Leigh, half-sister and incestuous lover of Lord Byron

Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, German writer

Pope St Leo I "The Great"

Brother Leo, friend and confidant of Francis of Assisi

Leonidas of Epirus

(i) Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Roman triumvir

(ii) Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, heir to Emperor Caligula of Rome

Leszek I the White, High Duke of Poland 1194-1227

Ada Leverson, British novelist

Li Bai or Li Po, Chinese poet

Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii

Abraham Lincoln, American President
Mary Todd Lincoln, American First Lady

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American writer and aviator

  • Cary John Franklin: Loss of Eden [3]

Charles Lindbergh, American pioneer aviator

  • Cary John Franklin: Loss of Eden [3]
  • Paul Hindemith and Kurt Weill: Der Lindberghflug (Lindbergh's Flight). This was later changed by removal of Hindemith's contribution, renaming it to Der Ozeanflug (The Flight across the Ocean), and removal of Lindbergh's name. The opening line was changed from "My name is Charles Lindbergh" to "My name is of no account".

Judah Loew ben Bezalel, Bohemian Talmudic scholar

King Louis V of France

King Louis VI of France

King Louis XII of France

King Louis XIII of France

King Louis XIV of France

King Louis XV of France

King Louis XVI of France

Francis Lovell, 1st Viscount Lovell

Lucan, Roman poet

Lucretia, Roman noblewoman raped by Sextus Tarquinius (legendary)

Martin Luther, initiator of the Protestant Reformation

Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow, Prussian general


Douglas MacArthur, American general

Jeanette MacDonald, American soprano, actress

Sir John A. Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada
William McDougall, Canadian politician

Ralph McGill, American anti-segregationist journalist

Wilmer McLean, American Civil War figure

Colin McPhee, Canadian composer and musicologist

King Macbeth of Scotland

Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus, Roman general, natural father of Scipio Aemilianus

Gaius Maecenas, political adviser to Octavian (Caesar Augustus)

Saint Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney

Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer

Marion Mahony, American architect and artist, wife of Walter Burley Griffin

Giovanni Malatesta, husband and murderer of Francesca da Rimini

Malatestino Malatesta, Lord of Rimini

Paolo Malatesta, brother-in-law and lover of Francesca da Rimini

La Malinche, Aztec mistress of Hernán Cortés

Mao Zedong, Chinese leader

Madame Mao: see Jiang Qing

Jean-Paul Marat, Jacobin leader

Benedetto Marcello, Italian composer

Alexey Maresyev, Russian fighter pilot

Margaret of Anjou, Queen consort to Henry VI of England

Marguérite de Valois, consort of Henry IV of France/Henry III of Navarre

Maria Carolina of Austria

Sister Maria Celeste, Italian nun, illegitimate daughter of Galileo Galilei

Maria Luisa Fernanda, Duchess of Montpensier, Infanta of Spain

Marie Antoinette, Queen Consort of Louis XVI of France

Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, wife of Napoleon I

Marie Louise Gonzaga, French Queen consort to 2 Polish kings

Empress Maria Theresa of Austria

Guadalupe Marín, Mexican model and novelist, second wife of Diego Rivera

Mark Antony, Roman politician and general

Auguste de Marmont

Martyrs of Compiègne, a group of French Carmelite nuns

Saint Mary of Egypt, patron saint of penitents

Mary, Queen of Scots

Queen Mary I of England "Bloody Mary"

Mary Tudor, Queen of France, sister of Henry VIII, husband of Louis XII

Masaniello (Tommaso Aniello), Neapolitan fisherman, revolutionary leader

Masinissa, first King of Numidia

Mata Hari, Dutch spy

Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor

King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary

Maurice, Elector of Saxony

Maurice de Saxe

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Herculius, aka Maximian, Roman ruler

Maximinian, co-Emperor of Rome

Ivan Mazepa, Cossack hetman, military leader

Col. Robert R. McCormick, American newspaper publisher

Catherine de' Medici

Cosimo de' Medici, ruler of Florence

Giuliano de' Medici, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent
Lorenzo de' Medici, "Lorenzo the Magnificent", Italian statesman

Lorenzino de' Medici, Italian writer and assassin

Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II

Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov, Russian statesman

Bartolomeo Merelli, Italian impresario and librettist

Valeria Messalina, Roman Empress

Caecilia Metella Dalmatica, fourth wife of Lucius Cornelius Sulla

Cornelia Metella, Pompey's second wife

Klemens Wenzel, Prince von Metternich

Harvey Milk, American politician and gay activist

John Milton, English poet

Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 1st Earl of Minto, Scottish diplomat, Governor-General of India

King Mithridates VI of Pontus

Marina Mniszech, Polish noble and Russian political adventurer

Moctezuma II, Aztec ruler

King Mojmír II of Great Moravia

Marilyn Monroe, American actress

Guy de Montfort, Count of Nola, Anglo-Italian condottiero

Thomas Moore, Irish poet, songwriter

Mordred, legendary Arthurian character

Thomas Morton, American colonist of New England

George Moscone, Mayor of San Francisco

Moses, biblical character

Charles Blount, 8th Baron Mountjoy, Elizabethan figure

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer

Gaius Mucius Scaevola, Roman figure

Muhammad XII of Granada, aka Boabdil, last Nasrid ruler of Granada

Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister of Canada
Mila Mulroney, Canadian First Lady

Ottoman Sultan Murad II

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Spanish Baroque painter

John Murray II, British publisher

Eadweard Muybridge, English pioneer photographer


Emperor Napoleon I of France (Napoleon Bonaparte)

Emperor Napoleon II of France

Louis, comte de Narbonne-Lara

Carrie Nation, American temperance advocate and vandal

Nebuchadnezzar II, ruler of Babylon

Nefertiti, wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten of Egypt

Adam Albert von Neipperg, Austrian general

Frances Nelson, Lady Nelson, wife of Lord Nelson

Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, British admiral, naval hero

Emperor Nero of Rome

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia

Nitocris, Queen of Egypt, maybe legendary

Pat Nixon, American First Lady

Richard Nixon, American President

Rikard Nordraak, Norwegian composer

Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, English politician, uncle to two of Henry VIII’s wives

Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, English nobleman

Rosaleen Norton, so-called "Witch of Kings Cross", Sydney occultist

  • Drew Crawford: Eugene & Roie

Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, English admiral and statesman


J. F. Oberlin, Alsatian pastor, philanthropist

Empress Claudia Octavia of Rome, consort of Nero

Octavia the Younger, fourth wife of Mark Antony

King Olaf I Tryggvason of Norway

King Olaf II of Norway (St. Olaf)

Frank Olson, American biochemist

Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, American First Lady, wife of John F. Kennedy, then of Aristotle Onassis

J. Robert Oppenheimer, American physicist

Sallustia Orbiana, wife of Emperor Alexander Severus of Rome

Pylyp Orlyk, associate of Ivan Mazepa

Pier Francesco Orsini, Italian condottiero

Emperor Marcus Salvius Otho of Rome


María de Padilla, mistress and secret wife of Peter of Castile

Niccolò Paganini, Italian violinist and composer

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Italian composer

Sarah Palin, American politician, Governor of Alaska, vice-presidential candidate

Papantzin, Aztec princess, sister of Moctezuma II

Johan Papegoja, Governor of New Sweden

Ely S. Parker, American Seneca native, Commissioner of Indian Affairs

Boris Pasternak, Russian novelist

Francisco Pelsaert, Dutch merchant, naval commander

Samuel Pepys, English diarist

Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland

Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, Castilian nobleman, known as Guzmán el Bueno

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Italian composer

Pericles, Athenian statesman

Saint Peter, Christian apostle

King Peter III of Aragon, "Peter the Great"

King Peter of Castile, "Peter the Cruel"

Tsar Peter I "The Great" of Russia

Peter the Hermit, priest and leader of the First Crusade

Gaius Petronius Arbiter, Roman courtier, writer

Michele Pezza, Neapolitan guerilla leader, known as "Fra Diavolo"

King Pharnaces II of Pontus

Phidias, Greek sculptor

King Philip II of Spain

King Philip V of Spain

Gaspare Pisciotta, Sicilian peasant

Gaius Calpurnius Piso, Roman senator

Pope Pius IV

Sylvia Plath

Edgar Allan Poe, American writer

Poliziano (Angelo Ambrogini), Italian renaissance poet, scholar

Marco Polo, Italian adventurer

Saint Polyeuctus

Lorenz Truchsess von Pommersfelden

Madame de Pompadour, French courtier, mistress of Louis XV

Pompey the Great, Roman military and political leader

Empress Poppaea Augusta Sabina, consort of Roman Emperors Nero and Otho

Lars Porsena, King of Etruria

Porus, King of Paurava

Sister Helen Prejean, American nun, death penalty abolitionist

Přemysl, the Ploughman, first ruler of Bohemia

John of Procida, Italian medieval physician and diplomat

John Proctor, a tavern keeper in 17th century Massachusetts who was hanged for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials

Chevalier de Prokesch-Osten

Marcel Proust, French novelist

Pharaoh Ptolemy IX Lathyros of Egypt

Pharaoh Ptolemy XI Alexander II of Egypt

Publius Valerius Publicola, Roman consul

Yemelyan Pugachev, Russian pretender to the throne

Qin Shi Huang, first Emperor of unified China

Vasco de Quiroga, member of the second Audiencia in Mexico and first bishop of Michoacán


Nikolay Raevsky, Russian general

Gilles de Rais, French soldier and serial killer of children

Elizabeth Raleigh, wife of Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh, English explorer and courtier

Raphael, Italian painter

Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic, confidant of Tsarina Alexandra

Rastislav of Moravia, second ruler of Moravia

Sir Richard Ratcliffe

John Aaron Rawlins, American general, Secretary of War

Stenka Razin, cossack leader

Nancy Reagan, US First Lady

Ronald Reagan, President of the United States

Wilhelm Reich, Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst

Count Adolf Ludvig Ribbing, co-conspirator with Anckarström in the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden

Penelope Rich, Lady Rich, English noblewoman

King Richard I "Coeur de Lion" of England

King Richard II of England

King Richard III of England

Prince Richard (Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York)

Rafael del Riego, Spanish general

Louis Riel, executed Canadian rebel

Cola di Rienzo, Roman tribune

Rainer Maria Rilke, Austrian poet

Arthur Rimbaud, French poet

Diego Rivera, Mexican painter

King Robert I of Scotland, "Robert the Bruce"

Robert I, Duke of Normandy

Maximilien Robespierre, French revolutionary figure

Robin Hood (legendary)

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, English writer, libertine

Roderic, Visigothic King of Hispania

King Roger II of Sicily

Rogneda of Polotsk, consort of Vladimir I of Kiev

Salvator Rosa, Italian painter and poet

Gioachino Rossini

Roxana, wife of Alexander the Great

Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor

Rudolf II, Count Palatine of the Rhine

Paavo Ruotsalainen, Finnish farmer and lay preacher

Lillian Russell, American actress and singer

Rustichello da Pisa, Italian writer


Hans Sachs, German meistersinger

Oliver Sacks, British neurologist, writer

Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, French revolutionary figure

Ōtomo no Sakanoe no Iratsume, Japanese poet

Antonio Salieri, Italian-Austrian composer

Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, Elizabethan minister

Sappho, ancient Greek poet

Sardanapalus, king of Assyria

William Sargant, British psychiatrist

David Sarnoff, American television pioneer

Girolamo Savonarola, Florentine heretic and book-burner

Diane Sawyer, American television journalist

Sylvester von Schaumberg

Hans and Sophie Scholl, sibling co-founders of non-violent resistance movement The White Rose

Kurt Schwitters, German painter

Scipio Aemilianus, aka Scipio Africanus the Younger, Roman general, nephew and adopted son of Scipio Africanus the Elder

Scipio Africanus, aka Scipio Africanus the Elder, Roman general

King Sebastian of Portugal

Seleucus I Nicator, King of Syria, founder of the Seleucid Empire

Seneca the Younger, Roman philosopher, dramatist

Sesostris, legendary king of Egypt

Sextus Pompey, Roman general, son of Pompey the Great

William Shakespeare, English playwright

Fyodor Shaklovity, Russian diplomat

Andrey Shchelkalov, Russian administrator, official

Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet

John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, English soldier

George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, English statesman

Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor

George Kastrioti Skanderbeg, Albanian national hero

Bengt Skytte, Swedish official

Mark Smeaton, English courtier

Anna Nicole Smith, American actress and model

Scott Smith, American gay activist

Dame Ethel Smyth, English composer

Socrates, Greek philosopher

Solon, Greek philosopher

Sophonisba, Carthaginian noblewoman, daughter of Hasdrubal Gisco

Agnès Sorel, mistress of King Charles VII of France

Sidney Souers, American admiral and intelligence expert

  • Evan Hause: Nightingale: The Last Days of James Forrestal

Edmund Spenser, English poet

Arthur Stace, Australian citizen who over 35 years chalked the word "Eternity" over 500,000 times on the footpaths of Sydney

Stanisław I Leszczyński, King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Stateira, consort of Darius III of Persia

Gertrude Stein, American writer

King Stephen I of Hungary (St. Stephen)

Thaddeus Stevens, American politician

Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury

Alessandro Stradella, Italian composer

Stratonice, wife of Seleucus I Nicator, King of Syria

Johann Strauss I, Viennese waltz composer (father)
Johann Strauss II, Viennese waltz composer (son)

Giuseppina Strepponi, operatic soprano

Nikola Šubić Zrinski, Croatian general

Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent

Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Roman general and dictator

Louis Sullivan, American architect

Sun Yat-sen, Chinese revolutionary leader

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, English aristocrat, poet

Ivan Susanin, Russian folk hero and martyr

King Svatopluk I of Great Moravia

King Svatopluk II of Great Moravia

Syphax, king of the Libyan tribe of Masaesyli

Erzsébet Szilágyi, Hungarian noblewoman, wife of János Hunyadi


Augusta Tabor, American philanthropist and first wife of Horace Tabor

Horace Tabor, American businessman, politician

Alexandre-Antonin Taché, Canadian Catholic prelate

Rabindranath Tagore, Indian writer

Eugene Talmadge, Governor of Georgia

Tamerlane: see Timur

Tancred, Prince of Galilee, Norman Crusade leader

Tannhäuser, Medieval German poet

Lucius Tarquinius, one of 3 kings of Rome

Sextus Tarquinius, son of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, King of Rome

Torquato Tasso, Italian poet

John Taverner, 16th century English composer

Dame Elizabeth Taylor, British-US actress

William Tell, Swiss national hero (disputed historical authenticity)

Edward Teller, Hungarian-American physicist

Beatrice di Tenda, Italian noblewoman

Saint Teresa of Ávila, Spanish mystic and theologian

Nikola Tesla, Croatian scientist

Themistocles, Athenian general and politician

James Thomson, Scottish poet

Virgil Thomson, American composer and critic

François Auguste de Thou, French magistrate

Thusnelda, wife of Arminius

Tigranes the Great, Emperor of Armenia

Timur, aka Tamerlane, founder of the Timurid dynasty

King Tiridates I of Armenia

Emperor Titus of Rome

Tiye, mother of Pharaoh Akhenaten of Egypt

Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist

Tomyris, Queen of the Massagetae

Titus Manlius Torquatus, Roman dictator

François Leclerc du Tremblay, "Père Joseph", the original eminence grise

Georges de la Trémoille, French soldier, favourite of Charles VII

Olegas Truchanas, Lithuanian-Australian wilderness photographer

Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Harry S. Truman, American President

  • Evan Hause: Nightingale: The Last Days of James Forrestal

Marina Tsvetaeva, Russian poet

Harriet Tubman, American abolitionist and former slave

John Turner , Prime Minister of Canada

Wat Tyler, English leader of peasant revolution


Pope Urban VIII

Valdemar IV of Denmark, King of Denmark from 1340 to 1375

Valentinian III, Western Roman Emperor

Martin van Buren, American President

Theo van Gogh, Dutch art dealer, brother of Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter

Publius Quinctilius Varus, Roman general

Tsar Vasily IV (Shuisky) of Russia

Giuseppe Verdi, Italian composer

Johannes Vermeer, Dutch painter

Lucius Verus: see Vologases IV of Parthia

Micaela Villegas, "La Perricholi", Peruvian actress and singer

François Villon, French poet and vagabond

Francesc de Vinatea, Valencian nobleman, opposed to Alfonso IV of Aragon

Gaius Iulius Vindex, Roman general

Filippo Maria Visconti, ruler of Milan, husband of Beatrice di Tenda

Vladimir I, Grand Prince of Kiev

Vladimir III Igorevich, Prince of Putivl and Halych
Vladimir Yaroslavich, Prince Galitsky, son of Yaroslav Osmomysl, Prince of Halych

Vologases IV of Parthia, king

Voltaire, French writer


Jacob Wallenberg, Swedish banker
Raoul Wallenberg, Swedish diplomat who rescued many Jews

Konrad von Wallenrode, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights

Albrecht von Wallenstein, Bohemian military commander

Walther von der Vogelweide, Medieval German poet

Princess Wanda, legendary Polish queen

Andy Warhol, American artist

Daniel Webster, American statesman

Dan White, American politician, assassin of George Moscone and Harvey Milk

George Hunter White, American CIA operative

Patrick White, Australian novelist

Brett Whiteley, Australian painter
Wendy Whiteley, his muse and sometime wife
Arkie Whiteley, their daughter

Walt Whitman

Oscar Wilde, Irish writer

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands

William the Conqueror (King William I of England)

William the Silent (William I, Prince of Orange)

Sir Alfred Wills, English judge

Robert R. Wilson, American physicist

Władysław I the Elbow-high (aka Ladislaus I), King of Poland 1320-33

Wolfram von Eschenbach, Medieval German poet

Thomas Wolsey, English cardinal

Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect
Catherine "Kitty" (Tobin) Wright (1871–1959), American socialite, social worker, first wife of Frank Lloyd Wright

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka "Joe the Plumber", American plumber, television celebrity



Emiliano Zapata, Mexican leader

Zeno, Byzantine emperor

Zenobia, Queen of the Palmyrene Empire

Zhou Enlai, Chinese political leader


Venerable Zosimas of Palestine

Nikola Šubić Zrinski: see Šubić Zrinski

Further reading

  • Jellinek, George, History Through the Opera Glass: From the rise of Caesar to the fall of Napoleon, Pro/Am Music Resources, 1994. ISBN 0-912483-90-3
  • Morgan, Christopher, Don Carlos and Company: The true stories behind eight well-loved operas, Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-19-288009-8
  • Heller, Wendy, "Tacitus Incognito: Opera as History in L'incoronazione di Poppea", Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 52, No. 1 (Spring, 1999), pp. 39–96


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