an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

How The Sopranos got its name

The death of James Ganadolfini, who played Tony Soprano in the mobster series, has started the day on a sobering note.



Many have speculated how the series got its name, whether it was in some way a reflection of the media myth that the Sicilian mafia would wash away its murders by listening to uplifting opera arias.

Nothing of the sort. The pilot was unnamed. The project got its title after HBO commissioned the first series in 1998. Creator David Chase told Vanity Fair that the name was taken from a childhood acquaintance. My father had a hardware store, and he and his business partner were both from Newark. My father’s business partner had a kid my age named Robert Caselli. And Robert Caselli’s cousin—their family name was Soprano. 

So there. Another media myth bites the dust.

As for the music in the series, all of it handpicked by Chase, there was an opera-style aria sung by Bocelli in series 2, Con te partirò. Cecilia Bartoli, a mezzo, sang Sposa son disprezzata in series 3. Amd that was it. No sopranos to be seen or heard.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Johnny Sack says:

    Sposa non disprezzata by Vivaldi…

  2. What about all those guys who became sopranos after the mob went to collect from them?

  3. In one episode Pepe Romero is playing Recuerdos de la Alhambra!

  4. Seriously, who – in the media or elsewhere – genuinely thought the series name had a musical connection? It’s the character’s name! Surely anyone who’s actually seen the series knows this. So where was the media myth?

  5. robcat2075 says:

    MAD tv did a takeoff, “The Tenors”…

  6. Welche Wonne, welche Lust is heard in season 6 ep. 1, and I also recall a small excerpt of Gorecki Symphony of Sorrowful Songs in an early season.

  7. Guy Vespoint says:

    I don’t remember which episode it was, but I have a strong memory of Luba Orgonasova’s recording of “Ch’il bel sogno di Doretta” being used in the background of one of the scenes. I can’t, at the moment, prove it though.

  8. I think that was the scene in the art gallery that had the Rondine in the background.

an ArtsJournal blog