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R.I.P. Maria Karnilova


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#1 Mel Johnson

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Posted 25 April 2001 - 06:04 AM

I've just seen an item on the Associated Press wires that Maria Karnilova has died at 80.

Karnilova was a member of Ballet Theater from 1939, and during the fifties was ballerina of the Metropolitan Opera. Her real genius lay in character portrayals, going on later to become THE Golde against whom all others were measured in Fiddler on the Roof and as a rowdy cigar-chomping madam in the movie version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She was still dancing up a storm in the latter, and left her younger colleagues well behind her, just from starpower alone.

She had a great sense of practicality, and a wonderful sense of humor. Even though we were blessed by having her 80 years, she still did the old show business right thing: Leave 'em wanting more! May she have eternal rest, may perpetual light shine upon her.

#2 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 25 April 2001 - 06:49 AM

this is from the New York public library's catalog, it was a gala performance to save the dance collection. i have seen photos from it and always remember how infectious her joy of life seemed to be even in a still photo. now i will have to go take a look, as i have never seen it. (in case anybody comes to the city, i've always said the dance collection was one of our biggest "tourist attractions" for dance fans!!)

Filmed on January 24, 1972 at City Center, New York by Emile Ardolino and Gardner Compton. Producer: Donald Saddler.
Contents CONTENTS. - The judgment of Paris. Choreography: Antony Tudor. Music: Kurt Weill. Costumes: Hugh Laing. Danced by Maria Karnilova (Juno), Agnes De Mille (Venus), Lucia Chase (Minerva) with John Kriza and Hugh Laing. - Donald Saddler discussing the funds raised by the performance. - Duet from Suite for five. Choreography: Merce Cunningham. Music: John Cage. Danced by Carolyn Brown and Merce Cunningham. - Cry. Choreography: Alvin Ailey. Music: Alice Coltrane, Laura Nyro, The Voices of East Harlem. Danced by Judith Jamison.

this was a repeat of what i think was the original casting of the 1940s, of which there is also a film. she is featured in a number of interview segments of different dance-related tv shows, including one all about her, as a speaker at the memorial for jerome robbins not so long ago. there is a bit of film of her in Helen of Troy as Helen, filmed by Ann Barzel (that is silent) in addition to the following intriguing entry:

The Concert
Telecast by CBS-TV on the Ed Sullivan Show, February 21, 1960.
Choreography: Jerome Robbins. Music: Frédéric Chopin. Conductor: Werner Torkanowsky. Pianist: Betty Walberg.
Performed by Muriel Bentley, Wilma Curley, Patricia Dunn, Maria Karnilova, Barbara Milberg. Tommy Abbott, Todd Bolender, James White, and members of Ballets: U.S.A.
Includes six of the original ten sequences: Polonaise in A major, Berceuse, Prelude no. 18 in F minor, Waltz no. 14 in E minor, Prelude no. 7 in A major, Butterfly ballade (no. 3 in A-flat major).
Restricted Permission required.

and lots and lots and lots of photographs.
sorry if this is too long but i so love that library and sometimes i think people don't realize how much is there! :)


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