The world of Pauline Viardot

25/11/2018, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The world of Pauline Viardot

Mirouslava Yordanova | mezzosoprano, Llŷr Williams | piano, Julian Smith | narrator

Pauline Viardot was one of the greatest woman musicians of the 19th century. She was the second daughter of Manuel Garcia, famous tenor (and also a composer), who created the role of Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia. As a four-year-old child Pauline was taken by her parents to New York where her father was to present an operatic season. There she was introduced to Lorenzo da Ponte, Mozart’s librettist, and now a professor in an American university. Back in Europe the family moved to Paris, and Pauline grew up steeped in music, being taught singing by her father and having piano lessons from the young Liszt, who she adored.

In her late teens she also began to compose, finishing the first of nearly 140 songs she was to write during her lifetime. Pauline’s singing career took off with huge success when she was only seventeen, and she rapidly became one of the great divas of her generation, acclaimed throughout Europe. She premiered roles by Meyerbeer and Gounod, gave nearly 150 performances of Orpheus in Berlioz’s restoration of Gluck’s masterpiece, and maintained a wide-ranging repertoire from Mozart to Verdi. Saint-Saëns’ Dalila was written for her, though she never sang the role, but she did give the first, private, performance of Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody. But as her singing career began to decline so her composing career developed and began to flourish. Her songs were published in France, Germany and Russia. They reveal a composer of great musicality, originality and passion.

This lecture recital will feature some of Pauline Viardot’s finest songs, and will highlight the main events of her personal and professional life, from her early years to her death in 1910. It will demonstrate that this underrated composer deserves much wider recognition for her very special talents.



Tickets: £10, £8, students and under 18s free entry.

Book places

The venue

Cardiff University Concert Hall
Corbett Road
CF10 3EB

Share this event

Save to your calendar

Save this event to your calendar of choice.