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VIARDOT, Pauline (1821-1910)

The daughter of Spanish composer and tenor Manuel García and singer Joaquina Sitchez, the mezzo-soprano Pauline García – born in Paris – was propelled into the limelight at an early age. From 1825 onwards, she toured the United States and Mexico with her parents, her brother Manuel and her sister, Maria (who became “La Malibran”). The music education she received from her family was complemented by piano lessons with Liszt and Charles Meysenberg and composition lessons with Reicha. When  Maria died, Pauline – who had been intending to pursue a career as a pianist – opted for a career in singing instead: she made her debut in 1837, toured Germany in 1838 and made her operatic debut first in London in 1839, then in Paris. Her first mélodies date from this period. In 1840, she married Louis Viardot, who became her impresario. A friend of Ivan Turgenev and George Sand, she composed operettas to librettos by the former (Trop de femmesL’OgreLe Dernier Sorcier) and inspired the latter to write the novels Consuelo and La Comtesse de Rudolstadt. Pauline Viardot’s creation of the role of Fidès in Meyerbeer’s Le Prophète  (1849) put her at the centre of European musical life, a position consolidated by the lively salons she held in her various cities of residence. She enabled Charles Gounod to make his debut at the Paris Opéra (Sapho, 1851), collaborated with Hector Berlioz on his rediscovery of Gluck (Orphée, 1859; Alceste, 1861), created the role of Didon in a concert performance of Les Troyens and lent her support to Saint-Saëns, Fauré and Massenet when they were starting out in their careers. Her crowning achievement as a teacher was her appointment as professor of singing at the Paris Conservatoire (1871-1875). 

    Images - 19
  • Pauline Viardot
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  • Pauline Viardot (par Ary Scheffer)
  • Pauline Viardot (par Maurice Sand)
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    Theme - 1
  • Compositrices
  • Persons - 2
  • GARCÍA, Manuel (1775-1832)
  • MALIBRAN, Maria (1808-1836)
  • Studies - 2
  • Borchard, Beatrix – L’univers, ou plutôt « multivers », d’une femme en musique : Pauline Viardot-Garcia
  • Goldbeck, Melanie von – Land of opportunities. Pauline Viardot in England
  • Documents - 4
  • Lettres à Jules Griset : Pauline Viardot (15 l., 1876-s. d.)
  • Lettres à Marguerite Griset : Pauline Viardot (6 l., 1877-1907)
  • Lettres de Pauline Viardot à Martin-Pierre Marsick (6 lettres, sd)
  • Liber amicorum de Jules et Marguerite Griset