Guide to Lithographic print portrait of Pauline Viardot C0484
Published by George Mason University Libraries
Pauline Viardot - born Michelle Ferdinande Pauline Garcia Sitches, and also known professionally as Pauline Garcia - was a famous Spanish/French mezzo-soprano opera singer and composer during the second half of the 19th century. Viardot came from a musical family, with both her father, Manuel Garcia, and older sister, Maria Malibran, being acclaimed opera singers in their own right. The family was also closely linked to the composer Gioachino Rossini, and other musical contemporaries. Born in Paris, France in 1821, Viardot studied piano from Franz Liszt as a child, and up until her teen years was set to become a pianist. It was just before her older sister Maria died tragically at the age of 28 that Pauline was placed on a new course for opera at her mother's insistence.
Arguably, Viardot eventually surpassed her famous sister in the opera world, with both an incredible range (from soprano to contralto) as well as a frequently documented talent for performance. Her most famous and enduring role was that of Orphee (Orpheus) in an 1859 reworked version of Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice," retitled "Orphee," by Louis-Hector Berlioz. The role of Orphee had been transposed by Berlioz from a tenor role to a contralto "pants role," specifically for Viardot. Viardot had a lifelong successful career in music, and later in life turned to composing. She passed away in 1910.
Lithographic print portrait of Pauline Viardot by "L. Loire." The portrait features a young, likely teenaged Viardot from the waist up in a white dress. Below the portrait it reads in French: "Melle. Pauline Garcia." Also included is the printer's information, which reads: "Paris, chez Rosselin, Editeur, 21, Quai Voltaire. No. 146. Lith. Marcilly, rue de la Parchemmerie, No. 2." The print was made circa 1839.
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Public Domain. There are no restrictions on personal use. Permission to publish material from the Lithographic print portrait of Pauline Viardot must be obtained from Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
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Viardot-Garcia, Pauline, 1821-1910
Lithographic print portrait of Pauline Viardot, C0484, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
Purchased by Steve Gerber in January 2016.
Processing completed by Amanda Brent in May 2021. EAD markup completed by Amanda Brent in May 2021. This item was formerly part of the Performing Arts Manuscript Materials collection, C0215.
"Berlioz, Hector - Orphee[.]" Barenreiter. Accessed May 18, 2021. https://www.baerenreiter.com/en/shop/product/details/BA5462_90/.
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Pauline Viardot." Encyclopaedia Britannica, accessed May 18, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Pauline-Viardot.
Jeal, Erica. "Pauline who?" The Guardian, February 23, 2006. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2006/feb/24/classicalmusicandopera.
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Auguste Toussaint Lecler, 83.2.2023(8), The Metropolitan Museum of Art. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/717941.
Willson, Flora. "Classic Staging: Pauline Viardot and the 1859 "Orphee" Revival." Cambridge Opera Journal 22, no. 3 (2010): 301-26. Accessed May 18, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41493879.