Viardot [née García], (Michelle Ferdinande) Pauline
- Beatrix Borchard
(b Paris, July 18, 1821; d Paris, May 18, 1910). French singer and composer of Spanish origin. She came from a family of singers: her father was the elder Manuel García, her mother María Joaquina Sitches, her brother the younger Manuel García and her sister Maria Malibran. After the death of her father in 1832, her mother took over her training. Viardot not only inspired composers such as Chopin, Berlioz, Meyerbeer, Gounod, Saint-Saëns, Liszt, Wagner and Schumann with her dramatic gifts but also collaborated on the composition of roles created especially for her. She was active as a teacher, continuing the García method. She studied the piano with Meysenberg and Liszt and composition with Reicha, but concentrated on singing after Malibran’s death in 1836. A year later, when she was 16, she made her singing début in Brussels at a concert given by her brother-in-law, the Belgian violinist Charles-Auguste de Bériot; her range of three octaves and her musical versatility caused a sensation. During her first concert tour, which took her and her brother to Germany in ...