3 pp. of bifolium. Octavo (ca. 178 x 113 mm.). Dated Thursday evening [Baden-Baden, Autumn, 1866?].
As a result of her recent "success," one of Viardot's female students has been invited to a small soirée for the following evening at the home of Countess Flemming, where only the queen and her closest entourage will be present. Viardot punctiliously instructs her pupil: "You must be very punctual, because... nothing is more disagreeable than to arrive after the queen is already there... As for your clothing, you need a high-necked dress, or a white frock, or a kerchief and sleeves of tulle or lace; in short, a pretty, formal outfit. You may certainly arrive with Mr. [Jules] Lefort. Bring along several pieces for the queen to choose from."
Slightly creased at folds and overall.
The queen of whom Viardot speaks is likely Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1811-1890), Queen of Prussia from 1861-1888, and later Empress of Germany from 1871-1888. Queen Augusta had come to Baden-Baden in 1866, where she "saw, heard, and applauded" the artists of Baden at the homes of Viardot and Countess Flemming. Among the artists was the young singer, Annaïs Roulle, who had "revealed herself to the regular visitors of Baden for the first time," and had "achieved a true success." She had sung solos and duets with Jules Lefort, by composers such as Viardot, Mendelssohn, and Offenbach. The next evening, during a soirée at the home of Countess Flemming, the Queen had "particularly complimented" Roulle: "Her Majesty deigned to speak for a long time with the young Parisian artist, and asked her to present her mother in order to compliment her." Serge de Saint-Sabin: Le Ménestrel, vol. 33, no. 47 (Sunday, October 22, 1866).
Viardot, a highly distinguished French singer, teacher, and composer of Spanish origin, "came from a family of singers: her father was the elder Manuel García, her mother María Joaquina Sitches, her brother the younger Manuel García and her sister Maria Malibran... Viardot not only inspired composers such as Chopin, Berlioz, Meyerbeer, Gounod, Saint-Saëns, Liszt, Wagner and Schumann with her dramatic gifts, but also collaborated on the composition of roles created especially for her. She was active as a teacher, continuing the García method. She studied the piano with Meysenberg and Liszt and composition with Reicha... In 1863, at the age of 42, she retired from the stage and left France for political reasons. With her husband, her three youngest children and [Ivan] Turgenev she settled in Baden-Baden, where she taught singers from all over the world. She built an art gallery in her garden and a small opera house, where she, her pupils and her children gave concerts and performed their own dramatic works." Beatrix Borchard in Grove Music Online. Item #23211
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