THE GARCIA FAMILY, ROMANTICISM'S PREMIERE MUSICAL DYNASTY; THEIR LEGACY AS PERFORMERS, COMPOSERS AND PEDAGOGUES
Stevens, Robyn Anne
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The Garcias occupy a unique place in musical history. Seldom has a family of singers so profoundly influenced their own and subsequent generations. While the younger Garcia, Manuel Patricio, is remembered as the father of modern vocal pedagogy, he is not always recognized as part of this multi-talented dynasty. The purpose of this performance dissertation project was to enhance awareness of the Garcias' multi-faceted legacy. Through three recitals I explored the family's influence in the areas of performance, composition and pedagogy; utilizing repertoire, program notes, a time-line and a pedagogic family tree tracing the family's influence to the present day. In the first program, I presented repertoire made famous through performances of Manuel del Populo Garcia and his two daughters, Maria Malibran and Pauline Viardot. Songs popularized by Malibran while in the United States were also featured. The second recital focused on compositions by Manuel del Populo Garcia, Malibran, and Viardot, tracing their influence on composers and writers of the Romantic era. Selections included "Cuerpo bueno, alma divina," from Garcia's opera Il criado fingido, source of thematic material for Act II of Bizet's Carmen, and "Yo que soy contrabandista," the "cry of freedom" quoted in Victor Hugo's Bug Jargal. I presented Malibran's popular romances, also Viadot's innovative vocal adaptations of Chopin's Mazurkas, settings of Pushkin's poetry, and songs incorporating Spanish and Cuban dance forms. The third recital celebrated the legacy of pedagogue Manuel Patricio Garcia, through his students Jenny Lind and Mathilde Marchesi; including Marchesi's star pupils, Emma Calvé and Nellie Melba. Performing signature arias and compositions inspired by these singers, I demonstrated how Garcia's teaching legacy shaped the operatic world, training singers to handle highly diverse repertoire. Biographical excerpts and personal correspondence provided insight into Garcia's and Marchesi's relationships with their students. Pauline Viardot's advocacy of Russian song literature was represented through Tchaikovsky's songs. Although there are no recordings of the Garcias , their philosophy of musical education and artistry continues to inspire.