About this artwork

Mary Garden was the principal soprano of Chicago Grand Opera for over twenty years. Born in Aberdeen, the family moved to the United States when she was still a child. She trained in Paris where she made a triumphant debut as the lead in Charpentier's opera, ‘Louise’, in 1900. A larger than life character, Garden trained for her role in Strauss's ‘Salome’ by climbing Mount Blanc to strengthen her lungs. And she inspired the French composer Claude Debussy to create the role of Melisande, who was discovered by Prince Golaud after being lost in a forest, for his opera ‘Pelléas et Mélisande’. This photogravure shows Garden in her role as the first Melisande. The opera premiered on 30 April 1902 at the Opéra- Comique in Paris.

Updated before 2020

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