I, Maya Plisetskaya


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Plisetskaya had lived in Germany since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tragic roles were considered her forte.

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Born in Moscow on Nov. Her mother, Rakhil Messerer, was a noted silent-film actress. Her aunt and uncle, Sulamith and Mikhail Messerer, were gifted soloists who later taught at the Bolshoi. Immersed in a grueling, six-day-a-week schedule of lessons, she quickly demonstrated technical skill as well as a daunting individualism that earned her a brief expulsion. Ballet became a refuge when the Stalinist purges of the s tore her family apart.

Her mother was sent to a labor camp and later exiled, while her father, a mining official and diplomat, was executed. Both were Jewish. Eighteen when she joined the Bolshoi and 35 when she succeeded Galina Ulanova as prima ballerina, the strikingly beautiful redhead blazed a path to superstardom that stretched over five decades. One of the first ballerinas to take classes with the men, she became famous for her muscularity, intensity and impressively supple spine.


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The Bolshoi did not like it. They said I was like a circus performer, but I did it anyway. Although her account was disputed by others, she wrote in her book that before setting out for America she and the other dancers packed their suitcases with food because they were paid too poorly to eat out. And when their supplies ran out, they bought cat and dog food.

Shchedrin, to stay behind in Moscow. She remained a sharp critic of Bolshoi management and Soviet rule.

Eventually, she was allowed to create ballets and direct other companies, including the Spanish National Ballet and the Rome Opera Ballet. In , when she was 65, she retired from the Bolshoi and later moved to Germany with her husband, who had joined the Bavarian Music Academy. She continued to perform for more than another decade, including a 75th birthday performance in In , she accepted an offer to become the artistic director of the Spanish National Lyrical Ballet Theatre in Madrid, where she worked until The first time Plisetskaya played Carmen in Madrid, she was so nervous that she asked for a tranquilizer for the first time in her career.

In , after her contract with the National Lyrical Theatre expired, Plisetskaya decided to return to Moscow. Plisetstkaya wrote in her autobiography:. Phone calls were not enough. Life dictated that it was time I left Spain. But it was painful to do so. This is my country. My Carmen!.. From to , she lived on the Arctic island of Svalbard.

Supreme star of Russian ballet, celebrated but also suspected as a maverick by the Soviet Union

In and , Plisetskaya lived with her aunt in Sverdlovsk now Ekaterinburg. At 18, she was accepted into corps de ballet of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. In , when Galina Ulanova left the Bolshoi, she became a prima ballerina. Plisetskaya left the stage at In , she married choreographer Maris Liepa, but they divorced after three months. Two years later, she married composer Rodion Shchedrin. They did not have children.

Maya Plisetskaya - "Swan"

In , Plisetskaya received Spanish citizenship. Your email address will not be published.

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I, Maya Plisetskaya - Yale Scholarship

Maya Plisetskaya, the Bolshoi legend with a Spanish heart. Post Pagination Next Post Next. Dancing, sometimes for her life, Plisetskaya, found solace in peforming strong women characters. Carmen was her favorite Prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya was always fighting for something: for every role she played, for every minute on stage, for her life. Maya was just 13 at that time. She used to say that her whole life was a protest: All my achievements are due to this fight. Russian ballet. Like it?

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