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Garden named after Pauline Viardot

    Pauline Viardot (b. Paris, France, 1821 – d. 1910, Paris, France) was a French dramatic mezzo-soprano, composer, and pedagogue of Spanish descent. Born Michelle Ferdinande Pauline García, she came from a musical family and took up music at a young age. As a little girl, she traveled with her family to London, New York City (where her father, mother, brother and sister gave the first full performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the United States) and Mexico City, where she started her musical career. By the age of six she was fluent in Spanish, French, English, and Italian. Later in her career, she sang Russian arias so well that she was taken for a native speaker. She took piano lessons with the young Franz Liszt and counterpoint and harmony classes with Anton Reicha, the teacher of Liszt and Hector Berlioz and friend of Ludwig van Beethoven. She remained an outstanding pianist all her life and often played duets with her friend Frédéric Chopin. Her career took her to the best music halls across Europe, and from 1843 to 1846, she was permanently attached to the Opera in Saint Petersburg, Russia. In 1863, Pauline Viardot retired from the stage. She and her family left France due to her husband’s public opposition to Emperor Napoleon III and settled in Baden-Baden, Germany. In 1870, however, Johannes Brahms persuaded her to sing in the first public performance of his Alto Rhapsody, at Jena. After the fall of Napoleon III later in 1870, they returned to France, where she taught at the Paris Conservatory and, until her husband’s death in 1883, presided over a music salon in the Boulevard Saint- Germain. In 1910, Pauline Viardot died, aged 88. She was buried in the Montmartre Cemetery, Paris, France.

    Address : 26 Rue Chaptal 9e, 75009 Paris

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