Viardot-Garcia, Pauline

BORN 18 Jul 1821, Paris - DIED 18 May 1910, Paris
REAL NAME Garcia, Michelle Ferdinande Pauline
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Montmartre Cimetière, 20 Avenue Rachel (division 28)

Mezzosoprano Pauline Garcia was the daughter of tenor Manuel del Pópulo Vicente García and the younger sister of the singer Maria Malibran. She was taught the piano by the young Franz Liszt and also studied with Anton Reicha.

In 1837 she gave her first performance in Brussels and in 1839 she joined the Italian opera in London where she impressed her public immediately. In 1840 she married the French author Louis Viardot who was twenty-one years older than she was.

She spoke French, Italian, Spanish, English, German and Russian and wrote many songs. She also authored several operetta's, among them "L'Ogre" (1868). George Sand turned her into the hero of her novel "Consuelo" (1843).

In 1863 she left the stage and left France for Baden-Baden in Germany because of her husband's public opposition to Napoleon III. In 1870 she sang first public performance of the Alto Rhapsody by Johannes Brahms on his specific request. After the fall of Napoleon III she settled as a vocal teacher in Paris in 1871. She was very close with Ivan Turgenjev, who often lived near the Viardots. It is unclear if they were ever lovers but Pauline was certainly his muse.

• Husband: Viardot, Louis (1840-1883)

Related persons
• was teacher to Brandt, Marianne
• was visited by Fauré, Gabriel Urbain
• was a friend of Gounod, Charles François
• detested Grisi, Giulia
• knew Kemble, Adelaide
• was pupil to Liszt, Franz
• is brother/sister of Malibran-Garcia, Maria Felicità
• was pupil to Reicha, Anton
• was painted by Scheffer, Ary
• was teacher to Suttner, Bertha von
• was visited by Wagner, Richard

0/7/1860Act Two of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is performed at the house of Pauline Viardot. It was performed by Pauline Viardot, Richard Wagner himself and Karl Klindworth. Hector Berlioz and Marie Kalergis, in whose honour the event was organised, were present. [Klindworth, Karl][Wagner, Richard]
2/12/1877Premiere of "Samson et Dalila" by Saint-Saens in Weimar. The opera was performed at the Grossherzogliches Theater in a German translation. The part of Dalila was written for Pauline Viardot but she was no long able to sing it and it went to Auguste von Müller. The conductor was Eduard Lassen. [Saint-Saens, Charles Camille]


The grave of Pauline Viardot-Garcia and Louis Viardot at Montmarte Cimetière, Paris.
Picture by Androom (18 May 2005)


• Steen, Michael, Enchantress of Nations, Pauline Viardot: Soprano, Muse and Lover, Allen & Unwin Pry, Crows Nest, 2007
Pauline Viardot - Wikipedia
The Hector Berlioz Website: Berlioz and Wagner

Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, Princess Royal

Published: 20 Dec 2008
Last update: 19 Mar 2017