Viardot, Pauline. (1821–1910) [Diémer, Louis. (1843–1919)]
Autograph letter from the important nineteenth-century singer to the pianist and composer Louis Diémer, apologizing for being unable to sing at an evening event because of a cough. 1 p. March 16, [n.y.]. Together with a typed translation into English: "Dear Mr. Diemer: Unfortunately, I am still coughing and the doctor forbids me to stay out for the evening in a warm place, because warmth provokes strong coughing fits! I am sad not to be able to come this evening, and I beg you to kindly accompany Mrs. Zerrier to my [songs]. The "Lamento" is somehow risky and requires a musician. A thousand regrets, two thousand thanks and three thousand friendly wishes. P. Viardot." Addressed on the verso. Perforated edges and some slight edge tears; overall very good. 4.25 x 5.25 inches (11 x 13 cm). Together with a halftone photograph of Viardot, clipped to an oval and mounted on a sheet of paper, 6.25 x 9.5 inches (16 x 24 cm).
Pauline Viardot, one of the most important singers of the 19th century, was the dedicatee of Brahms’ Alto Rhapdody and Saint-Saens wrote that it was her voice he had in mind when composing the role of Dalila. Viardot created Meyerbeer's "Le Prophete" (Fides), Orphee in the Berlioz version of Gluck's "Orphee et Euridice," Gounod's "Sapho," and Massenet's "Marie Magdalene" among others.