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Pauline Viardot and Ivan Turgenev: four decades of love at a distance
Pauline Viardot and Ivan Turgenev: four decades of love at a distance
Anonim
Pauline Viardot and Ivan Turgenev

Could the popular opera singer Pauline Viardot have imagined that a triumphant tour in St. Petersburg would bring her not only the love of the Russian public, but also an amazing forty-year-long romance. Not every marriage, even one made for great love, is able to last that long. But this was a special relationship between a married woman and a Russian nobleman.

Petersburg autumn of 1843

Karl Bryullov. Portrait of Pauline Viardot

The autumn theater season in St. Petersburg opened with a tour of the Italian opera and its prima dancer Pauline Viardot, nicknamed the Musical Ant. The unusually gifted singer decided to conquer the audience by singing in the opera The Barber of Seville, adding to Rosalina's arias inserts from Alyabyev's romance The Nightingale. The audience was overjoyed.

Among the fans were the poet Alexei Pleshcheev and the writer Ivan Turgenev. Pleshcheev dedicated a poem to Pauline Viardot, and Ivan Turgenev - his heart and life. The "Musical Ant" did not shine with beauty at all, contemporaries openly called her ugly, but she fell in love with herself with her singing and charisma. Her voice struck Turgenev on the spot and made him the most loyal admirer. The result is a strange "duet": the attractive collegiate assessor Turgenev and the ugly singer Viardot. Turgenev is in love like a boy! He meets with his beloved at musical evenings, balls and receptions, on the heels of the singer.

The writer and his Muse

The Viardot couple lived in a house on Nevsky, not far from the theater, the writer first became a part of the house, and then turned into the best friend of the family. The husband was by no means jealous of his mistress of the writer, he was simply accustomed to the abundance of admirers. Moreover, one could benefit from Turgenev's heartfelt passion. He introduced Pauline and Louis Viardot into the circle of creative bohemians and wrote a cycle of poems that Pauline turned into amazing songs. Moreover, the writer became Louis's best friend and shared his passion for hunting. Later, Turgenev wrote letters to his beloved and be sure to ask her to tell her husband what the hunt was and how many quails he counted in the forest. For Turgenev, the novel was truly dizzying. Pauline Viardot became the love of his life, soul and a real muse.

Pauline Viardot on stage

Thanks to this love (some researchers argue that it was platonic, others deny this fact), real masterpieces in the field of literature were born. Ivan Sergeevich was on the rise of his writing career, and Polina was the first to read all his works and knew all his secrets and desires. At the end of the tour, the Viardot family left for Vienna, but returned to Moscow a year later.

Turgenev is in a hurry to meet his beloved, they spend time walking around the city, visiting friends. On this visit of Pauline Viardot to Russia, the writer introduces her to his mother. The imperious Mrs. Turgenev was very jealous of her son for the visiting singer and tried in every possible way to distract him from an inappropriate romance with a married foreign woman. The woman openly said that she hated the visiting gypsy, but after visiting the opera she was forced to admit the incredible talent of Ivan Sergeevich's passion.

French style trio

The family of the writer

The imperious Mrs. Turgenev was very jealous of her son for the visiting singer and tried in every possible way to distract him from an inappropriate romance with a married foreign woman. The woman openly said that she hated the visiting gypsy woman, but after visiting the opera she was forced to admit the incredible talent of Ivan Sergeevich's passion.Constantly touring Viardot leaves for Paris, unable to bear the separation, Turgenev follows the opera and rents an apartment closer to the theater.

A year later, the Viardot family, together with their daughter, once again visit Russia. The trip turns into a serious illness for the child and for Polina herself, and the family decides to return home to France. A new round of romance between Viardot and Turgenev begins in the estate of Kurtanvel. The writer lived for three years as one family with Pauline and Louis Viardot.

Pauline Viardot

The closeness to his beloved woman had the most positive effect on his work. Under the wing of the singer, he wrote his best works. Polina herself periodically left with the opera troupe, and Ivan Sergeevich remained in Kurtanvel with his beloved's legal husband and her children. Of all the company, he most of all expected her to return from the tour, spending the evenings with the "foster" family.

In 1850, Turgeneva managed to separate her son from the hated gypsy for a short time. Ivan Sergeevich came home, after which he had a serious conversation with his parent. The family quarrel ended in a break with his mother. Turgenev returned to France and took his illegitimate daughter to the new family. However, the girl did not accept new relatives.

The image of the old lady was copied from Varvara Turgenieva

Turgenev himself established relations with his mother and even received money from her. In subsequent years, Turgenev lived in two countries. For some time he was not visiting and the novel developed only in letters. In 1856, Ivan Sergeevich spent several weeks in Kurtanvel, and nine months later Pauline Viardot gave birth to a son, Paul. Perhaps this is a coincidence, but it is believed that this is Turgenev's child, painfully the boy looked like a Russian writer. The years have shown that only death could destroy the novel of the writer with the singer. Viardot came to Russia, and Turgenev was in exile, but he found an opportunity to come to a meeting with his beloved using someone else's documents. Even the war, which closed the Russian entry to France, could not interfere with the meetings.

Epistolary novel

Pauline Viardot toured a lot

She lived in France, toured a lot, he was forced to return to Russia. During the separation, the novel by Turgenev and Viardot passed into the epistolary genre. An inexhaustible stream of letters came from Russia, with which the writer expressed his love for the singer. Judging by the content of Viardot's letters, the writer's feelings were sincere, he was sadly experiencing separation from his beloved. And Polina herself allowed herself to be loved more. It is known that after the death of Turgenev, Viardot had five hundred letters left, three hundred of them she published, carefully going through the correspondence and hiding all personal secrets away.

Memories warm the soul …

Only letters with a hint of feelings, discussion of works and other everyday vicissitudes are available to readers. Of the letters written by Viardot's hand, no more than two dozen were published, the rest of the singer removed from Turgenev's legacy. So this love was destined to be hidden from prying eyes, although the lovers themselves were in plain sight all the time. Ivan Turgenev only survived Louis Viardot for several months, never having time to call his beloved Pauline his wife. From the forty-year-old novel, only literary and musical works and numerous correspondence remained.

And today for many it remains a mystery how ugly beauty Pauline Viardot managed to conquer many men's hearts.

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