ViolinConcerto

Paris/Ballet question

46 posts in this topic

I went to see Nijinsky's grave again -- the last time I was there, there was no statue. A very kind worker guided me there (as the lady at the entrance mis-directed me) and on the way he showed me the grave of a woman, which was COVERED with pointe shoes, mostly rotted although there was one pair that seemed to be made of a metal.

Does anyone know whose grave it is? The nearest I can guess from going to different websites is Ludmilla Tcherina, but I would like to know for sure. The man told me, I am sure, but I had trouble understanding everything he said.

Thanks in advance.

Moderator's Note: :) Thanks to ViolinConcerto for sharing her photos. The first two are the "mystery grave." The third is Nijinsky's.

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Edited by carbro
Photos Added

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VC

There are several ballerinas and dancers of note buried there, it could have been Tcherina, Emma Livry or Olga Prebrajenska.

Also the famous can can dancer La Goulue is buried there, as well as Gaetan and Auguste Vestris.

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I checked for those dancers who were on the map, and none was in the general location (in section 21 or 22). It also seems that it had to have been someone in the 20th C, since the pointe shoes were quite modern. I wish I had known about Vestris and Prebajenska when I was there earlier today!

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Seeing as this was Montmartre, that's probably a place that a whole lot of people have mistaken for Marie Taglioni. That's her mother's grave, even though her name is on it. Mom's name was Sophie. Marie Taglioni is buried at Pere LaChaise, under her nominal title as Comtesse de Voisins.

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Seeing as this was Montmartre, that's probably a place that a whole lot of people have mistaken for Marie Taglioni. That's her mother's grave, even though her name is on it. Mom's name was Sophie. Marie Taglioni is buried at Pere LaChaise, under her nominal title as Comtesse de Voisins.

Merci -- and I'll keep searching as well for the exact answer.

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Dear Mel, I'm sorry to contradict you and I don't know who's right or wrong but I know those cemeteries very well for personal reasons, and according to a former colleage and friend historian of parisian cemeteries, Miss Taglioni is buried in Marseilles and not in the Père Lachaise.

As for Nijinski's grave, the statue is a gift of the Russian Federation.

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Just happened to have gotten out my trusty 1924 Guide Bleu prior to a trip next month. I find Vestris in Section 5 and Emma Livry in Section 31, but can't locate the others. Leo Delibes (Coppelia, Sylvia) is in 9.

An amazing collection of major 19th century artists --- Berlioz in 7. Offenbach (near Delibes) in 9. Halevy in the Cimitiere Israellite. Henri Murger, author of Scenes de la Vie de Boheme, in 5. Jacques-Louis David's most famous model Mme. Recamier in 30.

Not to leave out Stendahl ( (18), Zola (19), Dumas fils (21), Heine (27), de Vigny (14), the Goncourt brothers (13).

I can imagine them gathering after midnight for conversation and jam sessions. :speechless-smiley-003:

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You can ask a map to the guard who's at the enter of the cemetery. They're free (a courtesy of the city of Paris) and the locations of famous graves are shown. Both Montmartre and the Pere Lachaise are worth a visit, and Montparnasse too if you have enough time.

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Thanks bart and cygneblanc -- I did get a map, but none of the dancers mentioned are in the location that the guard showed me.....the mystery continues!

When I get home, and upload my pictures, I shall insert a photo of the mystery grave, and of Nijinsky's as well.

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Dear Mel, I'm sorry to contradict you and I don't know who's right or wrong but I know those cemeteries very well for personal reasons, and according to a former colleage and friend historian of parisian cemeteries, Miss Taglioni is buried in Marseilles and not in the Père Lachaise.

As for Nijinski's grave, the statue is a gift of the Russian Federation.

Actually, we're both right. Taglioni was originally interred in St.-Charles Cemetery in Marseilles in 1884. In 1930, when her grandson Augusto's wife Louise de Heredia died, he decided to have a family plot in Pere LaChaise. He exhumed remains as necessary (his father, mother, and grandmother. He declined to have his grandfather in there! "Grandma didn't like him.") from other cemeteries, and reinterred them in region #94 Rue Pacthod of Pere LaChaise, just down the road from the ashes of Isadora Duncan. As Louise was a member, the Academie Francaise has perpetual care of the gravesite. There is nothing on this marker - a cross - to identify the Comtesse Gilbert de Voisins, Marie Taglioni, as the dancer.

If you went back to the Montmartre cemetery and brushed aside the retting pointe shoes, you will find an inscription which reads, "MARIE TAGLIONI/a sa mere bien aimée." (Rather poor form to upstage your mother like that!) This grave is under the perpetual care of the Institut Italien, not a bad bunch of folks to look after a Swedish girl - her maiden name was Karsten!

Anyway, this is kind of getting like The Wrong Box. In 1950, when Nijinsky died and was buried in London, Serge Lifar, believing that the Taglioni grave in Montmartre was indeed Marie, fought legally for the remains of Nijinsky and in 1953 won the right to have them reinterred a few plots away from whom Lifar believed was the Sylphide. The statue now adorning his grave portrays A Petrouchka, but is not in the historically correct costume for the ballet.

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Thanks Mel. I'll try to see this grave, it's easy to find since it isn't in the romantic area.

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Your landmark on Rue Pacthod is a grave marked Gauthier (N.B., not Gautier - he's in Montmartre with Mrs. Taglioni. Can't you just see it? "Gee you look awful, what did you do last night?" "Oh, I was just helling around until all hours with Theophile Gautier and Mother Taglioni up on Montmartre!"), turn left down a little lane, and on the right is the Comte Gilbert de Voisins plot.

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Thanks, Estelle!

And thanks to the strenuous efforts of Pierre LaCotte, much of the confusion about who's got which Taglioni where is gradually being sorted out by various authorities. The next run of maps for the Montmartre Cemetery will include Sophie or Sophia, I still can't be sure which is correct, Taglioni, Marie's mother. The present stock of maps there is to be used until the master wears out, but Marie has been whited out on that document. The next orientation map of Père LaChaise will clarify where the Sylphide lies. Metalphoto maps at both burying grounds will further demystify those wishing to pay respects at the correct resting-place. But perhaps a thought from a son who remembers his mother with love: When at Montmartre, don't stop saying prayers in memory of Mme. Taglioni. She must have been a pretty good mom. :o

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Well, congrats to Pierre Lacotte and others, because as a former administrator of parisian cemeteries I know very well how it's difficult to get to have the location of someone's grave on the maps. Who did handle the request ?

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:)
. . . as a former administrator of parisian cemeteries . . .
What a fascinating, varied group of people we find on BT!

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Well, congrats to Pierre Lacotte and others, because as a former administrator of parisian cemeteries I know very well how it's difficult to get to have the location of someone's grave on the maps. Who did handle the request ?

I don't know specifically, but I know that the Registrar of Vital Statistics and the Academie Française were active in the matter. As late as 1990, the Registrar for Marseilles had no idea that any person named "Marie Taglioni" had EVER lived or died there! The office was, however, aware of a certain "Comtesse Gilbert de Voisins", but had no idea of what she did other than be a countess! You just have to admire bureaucracy, don't you? :)

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Wow, I wish this discussion had been held a month ago! I just got back from a trip to France and my husband and I spent a morning at Pere Lachaise. I had no idea that Marie Taglioni was buried there, if I had I certainly would have sought out her grave and paid my respects.

Pere Lachaise is a very beautiful cemetery, but it can be difficult to locate specific graves, even with a map. It's well worth a visit but I recommend that you go early in the morning to avoid the midday sun. It also gets more and more crowded as it gets later in the day. And wear comfortable shoes - that's really important!!

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You just have to admire bureaucracy, don't you? :shake:

Well I don't know the City of Marseilles' administration but I can tell you the city of Paris' is terribly bureaucratic :crying:

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Few people realize what a wealth of information exists in cemeteries, even if you don't stop in at the office to see if they have any supportive documentation on the deceased. As a historian, I spend a lot of time researching cemeteries. One of my favorite epitaphs is "Lydia Smith, (years) who died in the explosion of a lamp filled with Danforth's non-Explosive Burning Fluid"

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Well, for the ones who would be tempted to get infos from French cemeteries, I have to warn you that French legislation related to secret of private life doesn't allow those who aren't "tenant in common" of the plot to get some infos. The only thing they can do is to go in the cemetery, try to find the grave and see what's written on.

I was very strict on that policy, families can (and sometines do!) intend lawsuits against administration. Nevertheless, you can't control everything from your office, and often if you go to the offices of the cemeteries (there are 19 in Paris) and ask for a particular grave, you may be told the answer. I don't know how strict is their policy now. I was amazed to see how it's easy to get infos from American cemeteries !

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Yes, and Canadian ones, too. It's no wonder, with privacy standards like those to work with, it's harder to get info from French cemetery administrations, and also provides some insight into why even the cemeteries are unaware of certain critical information about their remains and monuments.

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Well, for the ones who would be tempted to get infos from french cemeteries, I have to warn you that french legislation related to secret of private life doesn't allow those who aren't "tenant in common" of the plot to get some infos. The only thing they can do is to go in the cemetery, try to find the grave and see what's written on.

I appreciate your comments, cygneblanc.

We had elaborate handwritten notes, several years ago, from someone who had visited the gravesite of

Olga Preobrajenskaya at Montmartre cemetary. After failing to find it during our visit, we went to the office

and asked. The person told us she could give us the location only if we provided the exact year of death,

because that's how names are listed.

We knew approximately but not exactly.

We never found the gravesite, although saw many others, including Nijinsky's, during our search.

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Well, if we exclude legal implications, another problem is that not every cemetery has informatic listings, and yes, if you don't have a precise date, it's almost impossible to find something on the paper listings, because there are just too many names...

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Time for a computer and Windows Excel! But really, I have great sympathy for cemetery administrators who have to work under such constraint!

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