As part of the Season devoted to women and their role as composers and the inspirations for operatic pieces, we bring a work by a lady who filled both of those roles. Pauline Viardot was a key 19th century singer, inspecting roles and music from her composer friends Berlioz, Chopin, saint-saëns and Meyerbeer. She devoted herself to not only creating new roles, but historical research into music of the baroque and classical periods. Her salon performances enabled listeners, such as Dickens and Chopin nonetheless, were never dull as she programmed such a wide variety of musical works including her own.
Pauline was a mezzo-soprano and daughter of the infamous singing pedagogue Manuel Garcia – an infamous tenor himself! Pauline wanted to be a concert pianist, having had lessons with none other than Franz Liszt, but her mother pushed her towards a singing career.
Always an enthusiastic composer, Viardot retired from singing and presided over a music salon until 1883. Her works were mainly written for her own pleasure and had no ambitions as a serious composer. She did however write three salon operas alongside hundreds of songs. In Cendrillon, Viardot takes Perrault’s famous Cinderella story and makes it her own. The music is ironically nostalgic of 19th century France and conjures images of Cinderella, the downtrodden girl, in the midst of it all. Opera Prelude returns to the ideal surrounds of Leighton House for this sparkling concert performance.
Tickets £40 to include programme and interval glass of wine.