Pauline Viardot was a renowned 19th century opera singer and composer who built an extensive social network of artists, writers, and cultural figures. Born Michelle-Pauline-Ferdinande-Laurence Garcia in Paris, she came from a musically gifted family - her father Manuel Garcia was an international opera star, and her sister Maria Malibran also became a famous diva. Viardot made her debut in 1839 in London as Desdemona in Rossini's "Otello," and soon after found great success across Europe's stages, particularly as Rosina in "The Barber of Seville." She was known for her wide vocal range, flexibility, and the drama of her performances.
Composers sought Viardot out to premiere their new operas, including Meyerbeer, Gounod, and Berlioz. In addition to performing, Viardot was a prolific composer, her talent compared with Schubert. She composed hundreds of art songs, piano pieces, and operettas which were championed by contemporaries like Clara Schumann. She hosted weekly salons in Paris attended by figures like Liszt, Chopin, Turgenev (her lover), George Sand, and Victor Hugo. Viardot's music has seen renewed interest in recent years.
"Der junge Fischer Russisches Nationallied. Berlin le 7 juin 1838. Pauline Garcia."
Song with piano.