María de los Ángeles Félix(8 April 1914 – 8 April 2002) was a Mexican film actress and singer. Along with Pedro Armendáriz and Dolores del Río, she was one of the most successful figures of Latin American cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. Considered one of the most beautiful actresses of Mexican cinema, her taste for the finesse and strong personality garnered her the title of diva early in her career. She was known as La Doña, a name derived from her character in the film Doña Bárbara (1943), and María Bonita, thanks to the anthem composed exclusively for her, as a wedding gift by her second husband, the Mexican composer Agustín Lara. She completed a film career that included 47 films made in Mexico, Spain, France, Italy and Argentina
María de los Angeles Félix Güereña was born in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico on 8 April 1913.
She was the daughter of a military officer and had fifteen siblings.
She spent her childhood in Álamos but the Félix family moved later to Guadalajara. When María was 17, her beauty began to attract attention. She was crowned Beauty Queen at the University of Guadalajara. It was at this time that she met Enrique Álvarez Alatorre, a salesman for the cosmetics firm Max Factor. After a brief romance, the couple married in 1931. In 1935, Félix gave birth to her only child, Enrique, nicknamed Quique. Her marriage with Álvarez was unsuccessful and the couple divorced in 1937. After her divorce, Félix returned to Guadalajara with her family, where she was the subject of gossip and rumors due to her status as a divorcée. Because of this situation, Félix decided to move to Mexico City with her son.
When I want to, it will be through the big door."
In Mexico City, María Félix worked as a receptionist in a plastic surgeon's office, and one afternoon after work when walking down the street, director and filmmaker Fernando Palacios approached her and later persuaded her to break into the movies.
Becoming her Pygmalion, Palacios began to train her and present her in film circles. She made her first appearance in the White and Black Ballroom of the Mexico City Country Club where some of the great Mexican movie stars of the era (Esther Fernández, Lupe Vélez, Andrea Palma) gathered.
Eventually she was taken to Hollywood, to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, where she met Cecil B. DeMille, who offered to launch her film career in Hollywood, but Félix was not interested. She preferred to begin her career in her own country. And throughout her filming career, Félix has declined some of the most famous female roles Holloywood offered her: the female role of Duel in the Sun, which went to Jennifer Jones; the female lead in film The Barefoot Contessa with Humphrey Bogart which later was played by Ava Gardner.
Maria Félix was known as La Doña for her role in the movie Doña Bárbara (1943), based on the like-named novel by the Venezuelan writer Rómulo Gallegos. For the film, another actress (Isabela Corona) was already hired, but when Gallegos first saw Félix, he was charmed by her and said: "Here is my Doña Bárbara!".
In 1945 Maria Félix married famous Mexican composer Agustín Lara after a highly publicized relationship. Lara immortalized Félix in a number of songs, such as "Humo en los ojos" ("Smoke in the eyes"), "Cuando vuelvas" ("When you come back"), "Dos puñales" ("Two daggers"), "Madrid" and especially the famous theme "María Bonita", composed in Acapulco during their honeymoon. "María Bonita" would become one of Lara's most popular Lara songs. However, the relationship ended in 1947 due to Lara's jealousy. Félix said that Lara even tried to kill her in a fit of violent jealousy.
In 1948 she was contracted by the Spanish film producer Cesáreo González and thus María Félix began her film adventure in Europe with the film Mare Nostrum (1948), directed by Rafael Gil.
In 1952, Félix returned to Mexico and concluded her working relationship with Cesáreo González with the film Camelia filmed in her native country.
After her second divorce from Agustín Lara, Maria Félix had romances with some well-known men, including her "old enemy": the actor and singer Jorge Negrete. Unlike their difficult first meeting ten years ago on the set of El peñón de las ánimas, Félix found Negrete, in her own words: "surrendered to my feet". After a brief romance, the couple married in 1953.
Unfortunately Negrete was already ill when the marriage took place. Negrete died eleven months later at a hospital in Los Angeles, California, while Félix was in Europe shooting La Belle Otero. Félix's appearance at his funeral, dressed in trousers, caused a huge scandal, which led Félix to take refuge in Europe. And the most important film of Félix in this period was French Cancan (1954) directed by Jean Renoir with the legendary French actor Jean Gabin.
Félix returned to Mexico in 1955.
In 1956, Maria Félix married the Romanian-born French banker Alexander Berger This marriage lasted for 18 years, and she built her famous home, La Casa de las Tortugas (The House of Turtles), designed by Pepe Mendoza and resembling an Italian villa, in Cuernavaca.
In her prime times, Maria Félix was dressed by designers like Christian Dior, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Balenciaga. The House of Hermès (Couture Department) designed extravagant creations just for her. She also liked to collect fine antiques, favoring pieces like her famous collection of Second French Empire furniture.
In the 1960s Félix's presence in the cinema was limited to only a few films. In 1970 she filmed La Generala, which would be her last film. The Mexican historical telenovela La Constitución (1971) would be her last professional acting job.
Berger died in 1974 of lung cancer months after the death of María's mother, which plunged her into a deep depression. To overcome this depression, she developed a new passion: horses. Some of her horses won major international equestrian awards.
Félix attempted to return to the cinema twice. First, in 1982, with the film Toña Machetes, and again in 1986 with the film Insólito resplandor. Neither project crystallized, and Félix never reappeared in film.
With Dolores I had no rivalry. On the contrary, we were friends and always treated each other with great respect, each with our own personality. We were completely different. She was refined, interesting, gentle on the deal, and I'm energetic, arrogant and bossy."
Maria Félix's last romantic relationship was the Russian-French painter Antoine Tzapoff. About him, Félix said: "I don't know if he's the man who has most loved me, but he's who has loved me better."
María Félix died in her sleep on 8 April 2002, her 88th birthday in Mexico City. She was buried in her family's tomb alongside her son Enrique and her parents at Panteón Francés in Mexico City. In 2018, Google celebrated Felix's 104th birthday with a Google Doodle
Maria Félix and Cartier
Maria Félix was a jewelry connoisseur and had an extensive jewelry collection, including the 41.37 carat (8.274 g), D-flawless Ashoka diamond, and she had a very close relationship with Cartier.
In 1968, she commissioned a serpent diamond necklace from Cartier Paris. The result was a completely articulated serpent made out of platinum and white goldand encrusted with 178.21 carats (35.642 g) of diamonds.
In 1975, Maria Félix again asked Cartier to create a necklace for her, this time in the shape of two crocodiles. The two crocodile bodies were made of 524.9 grams of gold, one covered with 1,023 yellow diamonds, while the other was adorned with 1,060 circular cut emeralds. Later she sold most of her jewelry back to Cartier's. She also left a Rolls Royce in Paris.
Since Félix's death, these jewelry pieces have been displayed as part of The Art of Cartier Collection in several museums around the world. To pay tribute to the actress, in 2006 Cartier debuted its La Doña de Cartier collection. The La Doña de Cartier watch with reptilian links was created to impress by its wild look. The case of the La Doña de Cartier features a trapezoid shape with an asymmetrical profile reminiscent of a crocodile's head. The wristband of the watch resembles the contours of a crocodile in large, bold and gold scales. The La Doña de Cartier Collection also includes jewelry, accessories, and handbags.
Sheikha Moza bint Nasser (Arabic: موزا بنت ناصر المسند, born in Al Khor, Qatar on 15 January 1959)is the consort of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, former Emir of the State of Qatar. Since 1995, Sheikha Moza has led education and social reforms in Qatar and has founded national and international development projects.
Moza is the daughter of Nasser bin Abdullah Al-Misned, a well-known opposition activist and the former head of the Al Muhannada confederation of Bani Hajer. Nasser returned to Qatar with his immediate family in 1977, the year in which his daughter Moza married Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, when he was heir apparent of Qatar.She received a BA in Sociology from Qatar University in 1986, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003.
Unlike many other monarchical wives in the Middle East, Sheikha Moza has been a high-profile figure in her nation's politics and society, actively involved in Qatar's government. She was a driving force behind Education City and Al Jazeera Children's Channel. She is the owner of Le Tanneur, a French leather-goods manufacturer. Additionally, she has been named as one of Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women at #75.
As the public consort of the emir, she has represented Qatar alongside her husband and on her own at many international events, including state visits and royal weddings.
Sheikha Moza has become known for her personal style, customising haute couture designs to fit Qatari modesty rules.
Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA), launched in September 2018 under the patronage of Sheikha Moza bint Nasser as Honorary Chair and co-Chaired by Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani and Tania Fares (Founder of Fashion Trust), is an initiative offering financial and business support to womenswear designers.
María África Gracia Vidal conocida como María Montez (Barahona, República Dominicana, 1912 - Suresnes, Francia, 1951), La Reina Del Technicolor fue una cantautora dominicana que ganó fama y popularidad en la década de 1940 como una belleza exótica protagonizando una serie de películas de aventuras filmadas en Technicolor. Su imagen en la pantalla fue de la típica seductora que usaba vestidos con trajes de fantasía y joyas brillantes. Montez era conocida como "La Reina del Technicolor".
A lo largo de su carrera Maria Montez participó en alrededor de 26 películas, 21 de las cuales fueron rodadas en Estados Unidos y cinco en Europa. El apellido Montez lo tomó en homenaje a la bailarina Lola Montez.
María África Gracia Vidal nació en la provincia de Barahona, República Dominicana, siendo la segunda de diez hijos del español Isidoro Gracia y la dominicana Teresa Vidal. Su padre se dedicaba a la exportación de madera y a la venta de tejidos.
A temprana edad, Montez aprendió a hablar inglés y fue educada en un convento católico de Santa Cruz de Tenerife. A mediados de la década de 1930, su padre fue nombrado cónsul español en Belfast, Irlanda del Norte, adonde la familia se mudó. Fue allí donde Montez conoció a su primer marido, William G. McFeeters, con quien se casó a los 17 años.
En el libro Maria Montez, Su Vida de Margarita Vicens de Morales, edición de 2003, en la página 26, se puede ver una copia del certificado de nacimiento de María Montez, probando que su nombre original era María África Gracia Vidal.
El 28 de noviembre de 1932 se casó con el banquero irlandés William McFeeters, quien era el representante del First National City Bank of New York en la provincia de Barahona y con quien estuvo casada casi siete años, hasta su partida a Nueva York.
Su primer trabajo fue posar para la portada de una revista por la suma de US$50 en Nueva York.
Decidida a convertirse en una actriz de teatro, contrató a un agente y creó una hoja de vida que la hacía varios años más joven, poniendo en la fecha de nacimiento "1917" en algunos casos y "1918" en otros. Finalmente, aceptó una oferta de Universal Pictures, haciendo su debut cinematográfico en la película B Boss of Bullion City dirigida por Ray Taylor y protagonizada por Johnny Mack Brown.
Su belleza pronto la convirtió en la pieza central de las películas de aventuras en Technicolor de la Universal, en particular las seis películas en las que actuó junto a Jon Hall, como son Arabian Nights, White Savage, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Cobra Woman, Gypsy Wildcat y Sudan. Montez además apareció en la película Western Pirates of Monterey junto a Rod Cameron y en The Exile, esta última dirigida por Max Ophüls y protagonizada por Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
La identificación con esta imagen cinematográfica fue tal que María Montez era conocida como "The Queen of Technicolor" (La Reina del Technicolor).
Mientras trabajaba en Hollywood, conoció al actor francés Jean-Pierre Aumont, con quien se casó el 13 de julio de 1943, pero éste tuvo que marcharse unos días después de su boda para servir en las Fuerzas Francesas Libres y luchar contra la Alemania nazi en el teatro europeo en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Al final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, la pareja tuvo una hija, María Cristina (conocida como Tina Aumont). Luego se mudaron a una casa en Suresnes, en el suburbio oeste de París, durante la Cuarta República Francesa.
En enero de 1951, Montez apareció en la obra l'Ile Heureuse ( La isla feliz) escrita por su marido. También escribió tres libros: Forever Is A Long Time, Hollywood Wolves I Have Tamed y Reunion In Lilith. De estos libros, sólo fueron publicados los dos primeros. Asimismo se dedicó a escribir una serie de poesías, entre ellas Crepúsculo, la cual ganó el 'Asociación The Manuscriters.
Montez murió a los 39 años de edad, el 7 de septiembre de 1951, aparentemente debido a un ataque al corazón y fue encontrada ahogada en el baño de su residencia en Suresnes. Fue enterrada en el Cementerio de Montparnasse. En su tumba se muestra 1918 como su fecha de nacimiento, siendo 1912 la real.
María África Gracia Vidal (6 June 1912 – 7 September 1951), known as The Queen of Technicolor, was a Dominican motion picture actress who gained fame and popularity in the 1940s as an exotic beauty starring in a series of filmed-in-Technicolor costume adventure films. Her screen image was that of a hot-blooded Latin seductress, dressed in fanciful costumes and sparkling jewels. She became so identified with these adventure epics that she became known as "The Queen of Technicolor". Over her career, Montez appeared in 26 films, 21 of which were made in North America and the last five were made in Europe.
María Montez was born María Antonia García Vidal de Santo Silas (some sources cite María África Gracia Vidal or María África Antonia García Vidal de Santo Silas as her birth name) in Barahona, Dominican Republic.She was one of ten children born to Isidoro García, a Spaniard, and Teresa Vidal, a Dominican of Criollo descent. Montez was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
In the mid-1930s, her father was appointed to the Spanish consulship in Belfast, Northern Ireland where the family moved. It was there that Montez met her first husband, William G.
In 1932, María Montez married William G. McFeeters, a wealthy Irish banker.
Montez was spotted by a talent scout while visiting New York. Her first film was Boss of Bullion City, a Johnny Mack Brown western produced by Universal Pictures. This was the first movie where she played a leading role and the only role where she speaks some Spanish
Her next film was The Invisible Woman (1940). It was made for Universal Pictures, who signed her to a long term contract starting at $150 a week.
Universal did not have a "glamour girl" like other studios - an equivalent to Hedy Lamarr (MGM), Dorothy Lamour (Paramount), Betty Grable (20th Century Fox), Rita Hayworth (Columbia) or Ann Sheridan (Warner Bros). They decided to groom Maria Montez to take this role and she received a lot of publicity. Montez was also a keen self-promoter. In the words of The Los Angeles Times "she borrowed an old but sure-fire technique to get ahead in the movies. She acted like a movie star. She leaned on the vampish tradition set up by Nazimova and Theda Bara... She went in heavily for astrology. Her name became synonymous with exotic enchantresses in sheer harem pantaloons." She took on a "star" pose in her private life. One newspaper called her "the best commissary actress in town... In the studio cafe, Maria puts on a real show. Always Maria makes an entrance."
In June 1941 Montez's contract with Universal was renewed. She graduated to leading parts with South of Tahiti, co-starring Brian Donlevy. She also replaced Peggy Moran in the title role of The Mystery of Marie Roget (1942). Public response to South of Tahiti was enthusiastic enough for the studio to cast Montez in her first starring part, Arabian Nights. She claimed in 1942 she was making $250 a week.
Arabian Nights was a prestigious production for Universal, its first shot in three-strip Technicolor, produced by Walter Wanger and starring Montez, Jon Hall and Sabu. The resulting movie was a big hit and established Montez as a star.
While working in Hollywood, Montez met French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont. Aumont later wrote "to say that between us it was love at first sight would be an understatement".They married on 14 July 1943 at Montez's home in Beverly Hills. Charles Boyer was Aumont's best man and Jannine Crispin was Montez's matron of honour.
According to Aumont "it was a strange house. You didn't answer the phone or read the mail; the doors were always open. Diamonds were left around like ashtrays. Lives of the Saints lay between two issues of movie magazines. An astrologer, a physical culture expert, a priest, a Chinese cook, and two Hungarian masseurs were part of the furnishings. During her massage sessions, Montez granted audiences."
Aumont had to leave a few days after wedding Montez to serve in the Free French Forces which were fighting against Nazi Germany in the European Theatre of World War II.
At the end of World War II, the couple had a daughter, Maria Christina (also known as Tina Aumont), born in Hollywood on 14 February 1946.
Montez said she was "tired of being a fairy tale princess all the time" and wanted to learn to act. She fought with Universal for different parts. She was suspended for refusing the lead in Frontier Gal.
In 1946 Montez visited France with Aumont and both became excited about the prospect of making movies there. Aumont says they were determined to get out of their respective contracts in Hollywood and move.
In August 1947 Universal refused to pick up their option on Montez' services and she went freelance.
Montez and Aumont formed their own production company, Christina Productions.They moved to a home in Suresnes, Île-de-France in the western suburb of Paris under the French Fourth Republic. According to Aumont, they were going to star in Orpheus (1950) which Aumont says Jean Cocteau wrote for him and Montez. However the filmmaker decided to use other actors.
Instead, in July 1948 Montez and Aumont made Wicked City (1949) for Christina Productions with Villiers directing and Aumont contributing to the script. It was one of the first US-French co productions after the war.
In 1949 Aumont announced that they would get divorced but they remained together until Montez's death.
Aumont had begun writing plays and Montez appeared in a one-woman production, L'lle Heureuse ("The Happy Island"). Reviews were poor.
After that, Montez made several films, none of them successful. then she made a movie with her husband, Revenge of the Pirates (1951). It would be the last film she ever made.
Montez also wrote three books, two of which were published, as well as penning a number of poems.
The 39-year-old Montez died in Suresnes, France on 7 September 1951 after apparently suffering a heart attack and drowning while taking a hot bath.
She was buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris where her tombstone gives her amended year of birth (1918), not the actual year of birth (1912).
In the book, Maria Montez, Su Vida by Margarita Vicens de Morales, there is a copy of Montez's birth certificate proving that her original name was Maria Africa Gracia Vidal.
There is also a copy of a fake biography made by Universal Pictures, where it says that Montez was educated in Tenerife and that she lived in Ireland, which was never true. Instead, it claims that Montez lived the first 27 years of her life in the Dominican Republic.
She left the bulk of her $200,000 estate ($2 million today) to her husband and their five-year-old daughter.
Maria Montez fan site
Biography of Martin Beaupre
Martin Beaupré was born in Quebec, Canada, in 1961. Over the years Martin has found his point of balance by associating art with energy. As a full-time painter Martin’s paintings are a reflection of his inner world. Martin takes us on a Zen journey which reveals a search for beauty and harmony in muffled tones, with serene, uncluttered compositions. In 1995, Martin founded the Médit’Art workshop, where he teaches modern and intuitive painting. Martin has also moderated art therapy workshops for amateur and professional painters, in the deserts of the United States and in the tropics of Hawaii.
Private and corporate collectors from all over the world find Martin’s contemporary canvases arouse profound emotions. Thanks to his accomplished mastery of colors and his completely resistance-free approach. Martin’s paintings combine energy and dynamism with tranquility and serenity. The preferred luminous intensity is white, because it offers the possibility of attaining the infinite. Martin works in various mediums: oil, modeling clay, sable, Swarovski crystal and ink.
Martin Beaupré has met with Buddhist monks in Thailand and Japan who have become a great source of inspiration. Martin believes the principles of Japanese art are sacred. The secret which lends power to his art is this: the void is to be embellished, but never filled. Create the maximum effect with the minimum means. Inspired by travels, Martin creates canvases imbued with Asian culture. We find works showing flowering cherry-trees, mountains, Buddha’s faces, geishas, and symbols and writings inspired by Zenga. Nothing is left to chance; there is a reason behind every detail.
One thing is for certain, there is never a confrontation between form and space. Everything coexists, everything is connected. Impression of calm, instant of grace, mastery of life, everything is softened. Martin Beaupré offers us a mystical operation of the senses, a sort of voyage to the borders of the equilibrium and the immensity which reside within us. An intense poetry to be lived and explored!
Martin Beaupré est né au Canada, à Québec en 1961. Il trouve son équilibre en associant art et énergie. Sa peinture est le reflet de son monde intérieur. Un parcours zen où se révèle la recherche de la beauté et de l'harmonie dans des tonalités feutrées, des compositions épurées et sereines.
Martin Beaupré prend plaisir à transmettre sa passion et vit maintenant de son art à plein temps. En 1995, il a fondé les ateliers Médit'Art, où il enseigna la peinture moderne et intuitive. Il a offert aussi des ateliers d'art thérapie pour peintres amateurs et professionnels, dans les déserts des États-Unis et à Hawaii.
Grâce à sa grande maîtrise des couleurs et à son approche libre de toutes résistances, ses toiles contemporaines suscitent de profondes émotions. Ce peintre conjugue l'énergie et le dynamisme avec le calme et la sérénité.
Inspiré par ses voyages, il crée des toiles empreintes de la culture asiatique. Cerisiers en fleurs, montagnes, visages de Bouddha, geishas, ainsi que symboles et écritures inspirés du Zenga composent ses oeuvres. Rien n'est laissé au hasard, chaque détail a sa raison d'être. Martin Beau Pré a fait la rencontre de moines bouddhistes en Thaïlande et au Japon qui sont devenus une grande source d'inspiration pour lui. Les principes de l'art Japonais sont sacrés à ses yeux. Le secret qui donne puissance à son art : embellir le vide et ne jamais remplir le vide. Créer le maximum d'effet avec le minimum de moyen.
L'intensité lumineuse qu'il préfère est le blanc parce qu'il lui offre les possibilités d'une rencontre avec l'infini. Ses tableaux respirent la quiétude. Il travail avec plusieurs médiums : l'huile, pâte de modelage, sable, cristal de Swarovsky, encre. Dans ses toiles, la forme et l'espace ne sont jamais en confrontation. Tout coexiste, tout est lié. Impression de calme, instant de grâce, maîtrise de sa vie, tout se dulcifie en soi.
Ses tableaux sont vendus partout dans le monde et certains font partie de plusieurs collections privées ou corporatives au Canada, aux Etats-Unis, en Europe et aux Antilles.
Martin Beaupré, nous propose une opération mystique des sens, une sorte de voyage vers les frontières de l'équilibre et de l'immensité qui nous habite. Une intense poésie à vivre et à découvrir!
Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya (20 November 1925 – 2 May 2015) was a Soviet ballet dancer, choreographer, ballet director, and actress. In post-Soviet times, she held both Lithuanian and Spanish citizenship. She danced during the Soviet era at the Bolshoi Theatre under the directorships of Leonid Lavrovsky, then of Yury Grigorovich; later she moved into direct confrontation with him. In 1960 when Galina Ulanova, another famed Russian ballerina retired, Plisetskaya became prima ballerina assoluta of the company.
Her early years were marked by political repression and loss. Her father Mikhail Plisetski, a Soviet official, was arrested in 1937 and executed in 1938, during the Great Purge. Her mother actress Rachel Messerer was arrested in 1938 and was imprisoned for a few years, then held in a concentration camp together with her infant son. Maya was adopted by their aunt Sulamith Messerer, principal dancers of the Bolshoi.
Plisetskaya studied ballet at The Bolshoi Ballet School from age nine, and she first performed at the Bolshoi Theatre when she was eleven. She studied ballet under the direction of Elizaveta Gerdt and also her aunt, Sulamith Messerer.
Graduating in 1943 at the age of eighteen, she joined the Bolshoi Ballet company, quickly rising to become their leading soloist. As a soloist, Plisetskaya created a number of leading roles, including Juliet in Lavrovsky’s Romeo and Juliet; Phrygia in Yakobson’s Spartacus (1958); in Grigorovich’s ballets: Mistress of the Copper Mountain in The Stone Flower (1959); Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty (1963); Mahmene Banu in The Legend of Love (1965); Alberto Alonso’s Carmen Suite (1967), written especially for her; and Maurice Bejart’s Isadora (1976). As an artist she had an inexhaustible interest in new roles and dance styles, and she liked to experiment on stage.
Among her most acclaimed roles were Kitri in Don Quixote, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake and The Dying Swan. Her interpretation of The Dying Swan, a short showcase piece made famous by Anna Pavlova, became her calling card. Plisetskaya was known for the height of her jumps, her extremely flexible back, the technical strength of her dancing, and her charisma. She excelled both in adagio and allegro, which is very unusual in dancers.
Despite her acclaim, Plisetskaya was not treated well by the Bolshoi management and she was not allowed to tour outside the country for sixteen years, concerning about her defection due to her family history. Then in 1959, Plisetskaya wrote to the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev “a long and forthright expression of her patriotism and her indignation that it should be doubted.” and he finally decided to lift her travel ban.
Since then, for the next 3 decades, with the international exposure she long deserved, Maya Plisetskaya changed the world of ballet. She set a higher standard for ballerinas, both in terms of technical brilliance and dramatic presence.
After performing in Spartacus during her 1959 U.S. debut tour, Maya Plisetskaya was rated second only to Galina Ulanova by Life magazine in its issue featuring the Bolshoi. And Spartacus became a significant ballet for the Bolshoi, with one critic describing their "rage to perform", personified by Plisetskaya as ballerina, "that defined the Bolshoi."
With just a few years of travelling outside Russia, Maya Plisetskaya became “an international superstar” and a continuous “box office hit throughout the world,” and she was treated by the Soviet Union as a favoured cultural emissary.
Although she toured extensively during the same years that other prominent dancers defected, including Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, Plisetskaya always return to Russia.
Fashion designers Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin considered Plisetskaya one of their inspirations, with Cardin alone having traveled to Moscow over 30 times just to see Plisetskaya perform, and she credits Cardin's costume designs for the success and recognition she received for her ballets of Anna Karenina(1974), The Seagull (1980), and Lady with the Lapdog(1985).
Plisetskaya recalls Cardin's reaction when she initially suggested he design one of her costumes: "Cardin's eyes lit up like batteries. As if an electrical current passed through them." Within a week Cardin had created a design for Anna Karenina, and over the course of her career he created ten different costumes for just Karenina.
Maya Plisetskaya married composer Rodion Shchedrin in 1958, who later wrote many music scores for her ballets, such as Carmen Suite created by Cuban choreographer Alberto Alonso in 1966, and later Anna Karenina(1974), The Seagull (1980), and Lady with the Lapdog(1985) seperately.
In the 1980s, Plisetskaya and her husband Shchedrin spent time abroad extensively, where she worked for some of the world's most important ballet companies. In 1983–84, She was ballet director of the Rome Opera, and from 1987 to 1990, she was artistic director of Ballet del Teatro Lirico Nacional in Madrid.
In 1990, Maya Plisetskaya retired as a soloist for the Bolshoi at age 65 and the next year she published her autobiography, I, Maya Plisetskaya.
Beginning in 1994, she presided over the annual international ballet competition in Saint Petersburg, called Maya. In 1996 she was named the President of the Imperial Russian Ballet, Moscow private dance company and danced the Dying Swan, her signature role, at a gala in her honour in St. Petersburg.
During her long and successful career, Maya Plisetskaya had won the highest awards in Soviet Union, such as the Lenin Prize and three orders of Lenin. She was also awarded many times internationally: In France, she was decorated Chevalier of the Legion of Honour and a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, and made an honorary doctor of the Sorbonne University; In Spain, she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 2005 together with the Spanish ballerina Tamara Rojo, and then awarded the Spanish Gold Medal of Fine Art. And she was also awarded in other European countries like Lithuania and Poland.
In 2006, Emperor Akihito of Japan presented her with the Praemium Imperiale, informally considered a Nobel Prize for Art.
Maya Plisetskaya died in Munich, Germany, on 2 May 2015 from a heart attack. Plisetskaya was survived by her husband Rodion Shchedrin, and a brother, former dancer Azari Plisetsky, a teacher of choreography at the Béjart Ballet in Lausanne, Switzerland.
According to her last will and testament, she was to be cremated, and after the death of her husband, who is also to be cremated, their ashes are to be combined and spread over Russia.
Maya Plisetskaya, one of the world’s foremost dancers, rose to become a prima ballerina of Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet after an early life filled with tragedy and loss. In this spirited memoir, Plisetskaya reflects on her personal and professional odyssey, presenting a unique view of the life of a Soviet artist during the troubled period from the late 1930s to the 1990s.
Plisetskaya recounts the execution of her father in the Great Terror and her mother’s exile to the Gulag. She describes her admission to the Bolshoi in 1943, the roles she performed there, and the endless petty harassments she endured, from both envious colleagues and Party officials. Refused permission for six years to tour with the company, Plisetskaya eventually performed all over the world, working with such noted choreographers as Roland Petit and Maurice Béjart. She recounts the tumultuous events she lived through and the fascinating people she met—among them the legendary ballet teacher Agrippina Vaganova, George Balanchine, Frank Sinatra, Rudolf Nureyev, and Dmitri Shostakovich. And she provides fascinating details about testy cocktail-party encounters with Khrushchev, tours abroad when her meager per diem allowance brought her close to starvation, and KGB plots to capitalize on her friendship with Robert Kennedy. Gifted, courageous, and brutally honest, Plisetskaya brilliantly illuminates the world of Soviet ballet during an era that encompasses both repression and cultural détente.
Tim Scholl(co-author) is professor of Russian language and literature at Oberlin College. Antonina W. Bouis(translator) is the prize-winning translator of more than fifty books, including fiction, nonfiction, and memoirs by such figures as Andrei Sakharov, Elena Bonner, and Dmitri Shostakovich.
Biography of Margot Fonteyn
Dame Margot Fonteyn, DBE (18 May 1919 – 21 February 1991), stage name of Margaret Evelyn de Arias, was an English ballerina. She spent her entire career as a dancer with the Royal Ballet (formerly the Sadler's Wells Theater Company), eventually being appointed prima ballerina assoluta of the company by Queen Elizabeth II in 1979.
Beginning ballet lessons at the age of four, she studied in England and China, where her father was transferred for his work. Her training in Shanghai was with George Goncharov, contributing to her continuing interest in Russian ballet. Returning to London at the age of 14, she was invited to join the Vic-Wells Ballet School by Ninette de Valois and succeeded Alicia Markova as prima ballerina of the company in 1935 at age 16. The Vic-Wells choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton, wrote numerous parts for Fonteyn and her partner, Robert Helpmann, with whom she danced from the 1930s to the 1940s.
In 1946, the Vic-Wells company(now renamed the Sadler's Wells Ballet), moved into the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden where Fonteyn's most frequent partner throughout the next decade was Michael Somes. Her performance in Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty became a distinguishing role for both Fonteyn and the company, but she was also well known for the ballets created by Ashton, including Symphonic Variations, Cinderella, Daphnis and Chloe, Ondine and Sylvia.
In 1949, she led the company in a tour of the United States and became an international celebrity. Before and after the Second World War, Fonteyn performed in televised broadcasts of ballet performances in Britain.
In 1955, she married the Panamanian politician Roberto Arias and appeared in a live colour production of The Sleeping Beauty aired on NBC. Thanks to her international acclaim and many guest artist requests, the Royal Ballet allowed Fonteyn to become a freelance dancer in 1959.
In Margot Fonteyn's ballet career, she has been dancing with different partners, but her most long lasting partner is Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
They were most noted for their classical performances in works such as Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, Les Sylphides, La Bayadère, Swan Lake, and Raymonda, in which Nureyev sometimes adapted choreographies specifically to showcase their talents.
Sir Frederick Ashton choreographed Marguerite and Armand for Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev,which no other couple danced until the 21st century.
The 1963 premiere was well publicised before its 1963 opening and teamed them with Michael Somes, one of Margot Fonteyn's dancing partners. Composed as a series of pas de deux, interrupted by only one solo, the ballet built intensity from the initial coup de foudre to the death scene. According to Somes, the pairing of Nureyev and Fonteyn was brilliant, as they were not partners but two stars of equal talent who pushed each other to their best performances. The production was an immediate success, and Marguerite and Armand became a signature work for the duo, sealing their partnership.
In 1961, when Fonteyn was considering retirement, Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Kirov Ballet while dancing in Paris. Margot Fonteyn danced with him in his début with the Royal Ballet in Giselle on 21 February 1962. The duo immediately became an international sensation, each dancer pushing the other to their best performances.
"At the end of 'Lac des Cygnes', when she left the stage in her great white tutu I would have followed her to the end of the world."
In 1964, Margot Fonteyn's husband was shot during an assassination attempt and became a quadriplegic, requiring constant care for the remainder of his life. In 1972, Fonteyn went into semi-retirement, although she continued to dance periodically until the end of the decade.
In 1979, she was fêted by the Royal Ballet and officially pronounced the prima ballerina assoluta of the company.
Margot Fonteyn retired to Panama, where she spent her time writing books, raising cattle, and caring for her husband. She died from ovarian cancer exactly 29 years after her premiere with Nureyev in Giselle.