May 22, 2014

Finding Manuel García's Studio in Paris


One of my first posts on VoiceTalk was about Manuel García's (1805-1906) studio at 6 rue Chabanais in Paris, which included an account of the famous maestro's teaching there. How wonderful to be walking down that same street six years later! (Have fun using the "street view" on Google Maps!) 


Rue Chabanais is located between the Louvre and two opera houses, that is, the Opera Garnier and Opera Comique. García's studio is a short 10 minute walk from both, the Opera Comique being where his sister Pauline Viardot-García had many of her triumphs. 


As you can see, the doorways in Paris are quite large! Garcia's studio was on the third floor, which has large windows which admit a lot of light, the window guards and the reconfiguration of the second floor windows being a modern addition. As the account in the link above notes, García's studio had red velvet curtains, a grand piano, and a book case. Did he live here as well? Of that I am not certain, but it is highly possible if one considers his living arrangement in London. 


Unfortunately, the shop on the ground floor was closed. Otherwise, I would have asked about the resident two floors above, and perhaps see something of the building. Not having access, I had to content myself with taking pictures of the facade, which is in the middle of the block. 


Currently, rue Chabanais has several Chinese and Japanese eateries, an art gallery, as well as a nice looking restaurant on the northern corner which borders a park. 


The latter has a lovely fountain which was built a decade before built García left Paris for London.  He would have walked right by it on his way to the opera.


This same park is one of the places where Jewish residents were rounded up before being sent off to concentration camps during the second world war. 


It was a heady experience is stand in the very same street where García taught. Of course, his teaching does not reside in a place (we have to look to his works and those of his students for that), but it was a thrill to be in the very place where he taught many famous singers and voice teachers. 

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