Chair: Marina Vaizey
Award-winning historian Orlando Figes presents an enthralling, panoramic cultural history of 19th century Europe through the prism of the intertwined lives of opera singer Pauline Viardot, novelist Ivan Turgenev, and connoisseur Louis Viardot – Pauline’s husband. Their friends numbered Flaubert, Chopin, Dickins, Rossini, George Sand, Liszt and Delacroix. They were the arbiters of a pan-European culture who forged a new cosmopolitan age.
Orlando Figes is the author of numerous award-winning books on Russian history, including Natasha’s Dance, A People’s Tragedy, The Whisperers, Crimea, Just Send Me Word, Peasant Russia, Civil War and Revolutionary Russia. Figes was the historical consultant on both the 2012 film Anna Karenina and the Andrew Davies’ BBC adaptation of War & Peace. He is currently Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, and his books have been translated into 32 languages.
Lady Marina Vaizey CBE is an art critic and writer. Formerly a member of the Arts Council she has curated several exhibitions. She is currently a trustee for The Musical Brain and is on the editorial board for the magazine of the V & A.