Pauline Viardot: a profile


Pauline Viardot came from a very musical family, in fact her mother, father, sister and brother all appeared in the US premiere of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. By the age of 6 she was already fluent in French, English, Spanish and Italian and in her later career she sang Russian so well she was believed to be a native speaker.


Born 1921 / Died 1910


After her father’s death, who had been teaching her piano, her mother took over and moved her focus to vocal lessons.

Viardot was keen to become a professional concert pianist having studied previously with a young Franz Liszt and it is said it was her greatest regret to have moved away from piano but she did not wish to disobey her mother’s wishes.


However, even without the career she wished for she was still regarded as a truly exceptional pianist by many notable composers including her friend Chopin and Saint-Seans. Viardot had an illustrious career as a singer and performed in many operas around the world.


She never had aspirations to become a composer but still wrote many songs, choral works and five operas.

Viardot and Opera on Location

Cinderella (December 2020) streamed to your device - see more