Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Committee Member

Tod Fitzpatrick, Chair

Second Committee Member

Alfonse Anderson

Third Committee Member

Janis McKay

Fourth Committee Member

David Weiller

Graduate Faculty Representative

Joseph McCullough

Number of Pages



Pauline Viardot-Garcia (1821-1910), an internationally famed opera singer well known for her vocal dexterity and range, was an intelligent and sophisticated woman who circulated easily among the brightest stars of the nineteenth century. Viardot, who was fluent in five languages, composed over 100 songs and was one of the first Western Europeans to set Russian words to music. Many of her French, German, Spanish, and Italian songs were translated into Russian and published in St. Petersburg. Viardot’s interest in Russian music began early in her career, when she performed with the Imperial Opera in St. Petersburg from 1843 to 1846. While there, she learned to speak and read Russian fluently and made acquaintances with many of the leading writers and musicians of the day. She performed music by Mikhail Glinka (1804-57), Alexandr Aliab’ev (1787-1851), Alexandr Varlamov (1801-48), Alexei Lvov (1799-1870), and Alexandr Dargomyzhsky (1813-69) in her concerts, and thrilled Russian audiences by performing works in their native tongue on the opera stage. Viardot also forged a special life-long relationship with the writer Ivan Turgenev (1818-83), who encouraged her to explore Russian literature, most notably the poetry of Alexandr Pushkin (1799-1837) and Mikhail Lermontov (1814-41). Viardot’s special affinity for Russian music and literature remained strong throughout the rest of her life, and she championed the works of Glinka, Dargomyzhsky, Anton Rubenstein (1829-94), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), César Cui (1835-1918), Mily Balakirev (1837-1910), and Aleksandr Borodin (1883-87). As well as composing her own settings of Russian text, Pauline Viardot frequently included Russian romansí in her concert repertoire, and encouraged other artists to explore Russian song literature. Moreover, Pauline Viardot and her husband, Louis Viardot (1800-83) actively participated in the translation of Russian literary works into French, and advocated for dissemination of such works throughout Western Europe.

This paper explores Pauline Viardot’s relationship with Russian song by analyzing four of her Russian settings: Разгадка (Razgadka) by Turgenev, Ива (Iva) by Fyador Tyutchev (1803-73), and Заклинание (Zaklinanije) and На холмах Грузии (Na kholmakh Gruziji) by Pushkin. The stylistic analysis also includes comparison to the musical romansí that were prevalent in Russia during the Viardots’ sojourn in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The four songs will be fully represented in a singer’s edition format prepared exclusively for this paper, with full English translation and transliteration of the Cyrillic text, as well as a transcription using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). A brief biography that focuses on Pauline Viardot’s Russian travels and her relationships with influential Russians is provided with special discussion devoted to her creative collaborations with Turgenev. The scores found in the singer’s edition were prepared using Sibelius Student 3.5 and Sibelius 6. The scores were formatted as PDF files, and the examples taken from the scores were scanned at 200 DPI and converted into TIFF files, which were imbedded into the paper. A bibliography is also included to encourage further investigation into the realm of Pauline Viardot’s brilliant and diverse vocal compositions.


Art song; Ivan Turgenev; Operas; Romantic music; Romantic opera; Romanticism in music; Russian music; Russian poetry; Turgenev; Ivan Sergeevich; 1818-1883; Viardot-García; Pauline; 1821-1910


Music | Slavic Languages and Societies

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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