For highlights, click here.
The Passionate Muse: The Life and Music of Pauline Viardot-Garcia is a musical play that recreates the 19th Century musical salon and imagined final performance of renowned singer-composer Pauline Viardot-Garcia.
Who was Pauline Viardot-Garcia? Few people today know the music and fascinating story of this influential 19th Century mezzo-soprano. Born in Paris in 1821 to a musical family, Pauline began her stage career at age 17, after the tragic death of her sister, the celebrated singer, La Malibran. Pauline married Louis Viardot, a theatre director many years her senior, and he managed her career, introducing her to audiences all across Europe, including three years spent in St. Petersburg. There, she met the young novelist, Ivan Turgenev. He fell in love with her and lived with or near the Viardots for the rest of his life. Their close relationship remains a mystery to this day.
Among her friends and colleagues were George Sand and Frederic Chopin, the Schumanns, Berlioz, Gounod, Saint-Säens and others – and either they were her musical and artistic collaborators or she was their muse. When her voice began to show signs of strain in her forties, she left the stage, although she continued to perform privately.
Pauline Viardot-Garcia composed some two hundred songs in the course of her life, including vocal adaptations of Chopin mazurkas, and operas. In her later years, she took up teaching, largely for financial reasons. Pauline died in 1910.
The Passionate Muse tells this story, and includes music she sang over her career by composers such as Schumann, Saint Säens, Gounod, Berlioz, and Tchaikowsky, as well as several of her own compositions.
Canción de la Infanta (Viardot-Garcia)
Piano Solo: Träumerei
Piano Solo: Mazurka op, 24 no. 1 (Chopin)
Che faró (Gluck)
Faites-lui mes aveux from Faust (Gounod)
Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix from Samson et Dalila (Saint-Säens)
Zhiviot maya atrada (Shishkin)
Piano Solo: Romance no. 5 (Tchaikowsky)
On tak mienya lyoubil (Tchaikowsky)
Des Nachts (Viardot-Garcia)
Haï Luli (Viardot-Garcia)
Casting: female actor, female singer, pianist
Running time: 1:20