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Camille Saint-SaënsOn Music and Musicians$
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Roger Nichols

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320169

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320169.001.0001

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Pauline Viardot

Pauline Viardot

(Ecole buissonnière, Pierre Lafitte, 1913, 217–223)

26 Pauline Viardot
Camille Saint-Saëns

Roger Nichols

Oxford University Press

Pauline Viardot's voice was enormously powerful, had a prodigious range and was equal to every technical difficulty but, marvelous as it was, it did not please everybody. It was not a velvet or crystalline voice, but rather rough. To the accents of tragedy, to the severities of oratorio, she gave an incomparable grandeur. Viardot was not beautiful. The portrait painted of her by Ary Scheffer is the only one that captures the look of this unique woman and gives an idea of her strange, powerful fascination. What made her particularly captivating, even more than her singing talent, was her character. She was a fluent speaker and writer in Spanish, French, Italian, English and German, kept up with the literature of every country, and was in correspondence with the whole of Europe.

Keywords:   Pauline Viardot, tragedy, oratorio, Ary Scheffer

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