This semester, the SSU Opera Scenes class will be celebrating the life and work of Pauline Viardot on the 200th anniversary of her birthday. Viardot was one of the most important singers and composers of her era, and had a monumental effect on the musical life and development of Europe in the latter half of the 19th century.
We will prepare and perform her final chamber opera, Cendrillon, as well as other songs by her family and important contemporaries. The opera will be presented as a show-within-a-show. In addition to its roles and plot, important figures from Viardot's life, including Maria Malibran, Manuel Garcia, and the composer herself will be added characters leading us through the production and the incidental music associated with the opera. Each student will have a role, and everyone will have a similar amount of singing, acting, and production to do over the course of the semester.
We will produce a series of eight video episodes to be released as a podcast on YouTube from late March through early May. At the end in mid May, we will compile all the episodes and have a premiere of the complete performance of Project Pauline.
In addition to working with singers and GMC tech staff, we will be reaching out to the History and Women’s and Gender Studies departments to create opportunities for collaboration and cross-program learning through this project. There are very few recordings or videos of this opera, and all of the music and text is in the public domain, so this creative work will be able to persist online for SSU recruitment efforts, musicological and performance reference by singers and schools the world over, and as a lasting contribution from our students to the understanding and awareness of Pauline Viardot’s importance and artistry in vocal music history.