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Marina Timofeyevna Semyonova

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an emigre colleague from Moscow has passed along the news that Marina Timofeyevna Semyonova died today at 102.

apparently Russian news publications have already run stories about her life and death.

the attached scan shows a photo of Semyonova's Odile (w/ Y. Kondratiev's Siegfried) as a small-size snapshot.

post-848-1276094423_thumb.jpg

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God certainly blessed her with a long, productive life. RIP Mme. Semyonova.

Marina Semyonova 100 years celebration documentary.

Marina Semyonova (Odette) & Yuri Kondratov (Siegfried) in Swan Lake's Love Duet.

Natalia Bessmertnova being coached by Marina Semyonova in "The Dying Swan".

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God certainly blessed her with a long, productive life. RIP Mme. Semyonova.

Marina Semyonova 100 years celebration documentary.

Marina Semyonova (Odette) & Yuri Kondratov (Siegfried) in Swan Lake's Love Duet.

Natalia Bessmertnova being coached by Marina Semyonova in "The Dying Swan".

Her page on the Bolshoi site: http://www.bolshoi.ru/ru/theatre/people/de...fo&id26=436

Her biography by Geoff Whitlock on For Ballet Lovers Only

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Mme. Semyonova was guest with the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1935 where she danced Giselle with Serge Lifar. About this particular...

"Her foreign tour was opposed vehemently by Klim Voroshilov who wrote to Stalin: 'It is quite conceivable that Semyonova will not return". To this Lazar Kaganovich responded: "I think she will not escape. She is a very proper person and it makes little sense for her to escape. She is not tempted by money, the high life, etc".

Miklos Kun- "Stalin: An Unknown Portrait". Central European University Press, 2003.

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Now we can truly say that's it the end of an era in Russo-Soviet ballet.

May she Rest in Peace.

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Good-bye Marina Semyonova; rest in eternal peace.

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I am saddened to hear of the death of the legendary Marina Semyonova her life was marked with enormous success and deep tragedy.

I well remember her from her visit to London and felt something approaching awe being able to stand next to her.

The Russian News Agency Itar-Tass today carries the headline, “Last legend of Bolshoi ballet’s golden age dies aged 102.”

Despite an attempt to prevent her from travelling abroad as quoted above by Cristian, extraordinarily she was able to appear as Giselle with Serge Lifar in Paris. Semyonova was so carried away with both the occasion and her performance that as she made the fatal run to her mother, she exclaimed, “Mama” which shocked the French audience.

When interviewed in the 1940’s with reference to Ulanova, Lepeshinskaya and herself she said without vanity, “One of us may not occur for another 100 years.”

As Marc says, both the Bolshoi website and Geoff Whitlock’s appraisal of Semyonova’s career, pay homage to this remarkable woman and artist.

The Bolshoi site is remarkably frank mentioning the fate of her husband.

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Here is a direct link to the tribute photos on the Bolshoi site:

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/season/press-offi...x.php?id26=1554

I can't find an English version of the article to which Marc linked and leonid referred. (Substituting "en" for the second "ru" in the URL is currently a broken link. Perhaps it will be translated later on the site, but for now, there are Google and Microsoft translators.

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Here is a direct link to the tribute photos on the Bolshoi site:

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/season/press-offi...x.php?id26=1554

I can't find an English version of the article to which Marc linked and leonid referred. (Substituting "en" for the second "ru" in the URL is currently a broken link. Perhaps it will be translated later on the site, but for now, there are Google and Microsoft translators.

The obits are starting to come in. Here's a tribute from Voice of Russia: http://english.ruvr.ru/2010/06/09/9471737.html

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The obits are starting to come in. Here's a tribute from Voice of Russia: http://english.ruvr.ru/2010/06/09/9471737.html

Thanks for that link, Cygnet. I found this particular paragraph very interesting...

"Marina Semyonova went down in history as the “savior” of ballet art. When in 1918 the Bolsheviks were about to ban ballet as a “bourgeois art”, Education Minister Anatoly Lunacharsky brought all members of the Soviet of People’s Commissars to a ballet with the participation of Semyonova. The Bolshevik commissars were so impressed that they resolved to give ballet their support".

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The obits are starting to come in. Here's a tribute from Voice of Russia: http://english.ruvr.ru/2010/06/09/9471737.html

Thanks for that link, Cygnet. I found this particular paragraph very interesting...

"Marina Semyonova went down in history as the “savior” of ballet art. When in 1918 the Bolsheviks were about to ban ballet as a “bourgeois art”, Education Minister Anatoly Lunacharsky brought all members of the Soviet of People’s Commissars to a ballet with the participation of Semyonova. The Bolshevik commissars were so impressed that they resolved to give ballet their support".

Hmmm, I'm a bit confused here. Semyonova would have been 10 years old in 1918. Did she really lead a demonstration at that tender age????????

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The way that paragraph is written, it sounds like she was IN the ballet, but not leading. Children's corps would be a logical explanation.

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For those of you who can access the NYTimes---there was a lovely article about her on January 10, 1999 when she was 90. In the article she speaks of Balanchine who graduated four years ahead of her---"I had a crush on him" she says.

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The way that paragraph is written, it sounds like she was IN the ballet, but not leading. Children's corps would be a logical explanation.

I can see how that could be the explanation. But I do think the writing is misleading. The first sentence claims she was the "savior" and that her "participation" (in part any way) convinced the Commissars.

If she had been 20 instead of ten, the way the event is described would have indicated a much more important role to Semyonova herself.

It does sound like she led a very interesting life!

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Marina Semyonova dancing "Boston Waltz" in Konstantin Eggert's 1934 film "Nastenka Ustinova".

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Something in my memory-box recalls that she had a leadership role in protecting ballet companies during the Great Purges of 1934-38. Perhaps the Voice of Russia article conflated the two, or just telescoped one into the other. It happens all over the journalism world.

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Something in my memory-box recalls that she had a leadership role in protecting ballet companies during the Great Purges of 1934-38. Perhaps the Voice of Russia article conflated the two, or just telescoped one into the other. It happens all over the journalism world.

Her husband was a victim of the purges. His name was Lev Mikhailovich Karakhan a senior diplomat who was murdered in 1937.

Added:

The reason she was considered to be a "saviour of the art", was because in her early years she epitomised the highest aspirations of Russian classical ballet and was of course one of Vaganova's most important early students.

Regarding Marina Semyonova I remember her also in London taking great care of Nina Ananiashvilli.

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Something in my memory-box recalls that she had a leadership role in protecting ballet companies during the Great Purges of 1934-38. Perhaps the Voice of Russia article conflated the two, or just telescoped one into the other. It happens all over the journalism world.

That sounds much more plausible!

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Marina Semyonova dancing "Boston Waltz" in Konstantin Eggert's 1934 film "Nastenka Ustinova".

Thank you Cristian.

Such expressive arms and back. Certainly an indication, but not enough to show why she was so revered, but I am sure much more representative of her qualities than the Swan Lake film made too late in her career which she insisted on filming, despite friendly discouragement from her colleagues.

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Semenova's white swan really moved me -- especially Odette in her solo variation, which she made extremely intimate, tender, delicate, poignant. i have never seen anyone else make that dance so expressive. It's a difficult dance, and it looked like she chose to dance through it (like Suzanne Farrell) without worrying about whether or not she was on her leg, and she often was not but turned that to advantage and made it part of the phrasing, so the vulnerability and the bravery and hte fidelity to hte cantilena came through and made me love her.

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I am saddened to hear of the demise of Marina Semyonova - yet she had a long and rich life and I do hope that her last years were devoid of too much health problems.

Finnish Tv is good at broadcasting culture programs and indeed I know that I have some footage of her from the forties. (This is rather embarrassing to admit - I worked at cataloging in the British Museum, yet I admit I am hopeless at cataloging my taped footage. Promise to make an effort here, such old pieces of old film bits and pieces, even if they are only seconds long, are invaluable).

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