Pauline García Viardot, the daughter of the famous singer and composer Manuel García and younger sister of the celebrated Malibran, was a singer of genius and a woman of outstanding intellect. The first biography of Viardot not only recreates the drama of the prima donna’s own life, but perfectly captures the scintillating brilliance of nineteenth-century artistic life: the colourful and diverse personalities of the Musset brothers, Chopin, George Sand, Meyerbeer, Berlioz, Gounod and Saint-Saëns move in and out of Viardot’s life. In 1843 Madame Viardot met the young Ivan Turgenev. From their first meeting until his death in 1883, he remained passionately devoted to her, following her around Europe and spending long periods of time as a member of her household.
This authoritative study, which makes use of much hitherto unknown source material, has the fascination of a great Russian novel.