"Tonna boasts an old school mezzo, dark enough in color for Beppe in L'amico Fritz and Laura Adorno in La Gioconda. Yet she also commands the agility for Rossini and for the Spanish recital literature that has figured signally in her repertory, not least in Spain itself."
- David Shengold
Review of The Unknown Pauline Viardot
The present recording celebrates the bicentennial of the birth of French composer and opera singer Pauline Viardot (1821-1910). This cosmopolitan and polyglot artist was a bright star in the cultural spheres of 19th century Europe
The sound disc coincides with the composers' bicentennial year, and essays vocal solos and duets, with transcriptions and editions realized by musicologist Patricia Kleinman, using Viardot’s original manuscripts. Showcasing all world premiere recordings (with the exception of Scéne de Phédre and Cana española), “The Unknown Pauline Viardot” promises to show previously unknown facets of this great female composer by showcasing a host of styles informed by her cosmopolitanism and the surprising aesthetic interests and styles she experimented with throughout the last half of the 19th century.
As a singer, she was a diva of the operatic stages of Paris, London, Saint Petersburg and Baden-Baden among many others. As a socialite, she maintained one of the most important artistic salons in Paris, frequented by the most well-known intellectuals and artists of the day. As a composer, she maintained a constant activity throughout her long life.
United by the synergy of the Pauline Viardot Bicentennial year (1821-2021), artists of the initiative Women in Music/Mujeres en Música – mezzo Anna Tonna and pianist Isabel Dobarro, together with Proyecto CompositorAs – musicologist and artistic director of the disc Patricia Kleinman and soprano Corina Feldkamp jointly present this fascinating journey of discovery of Pauline Viardot, who is now acknowledged as one of the seminal figure of 19th century European culture.