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Here everything is as it was under Maya Plisetskaya: a memorial ballerina apartment was opened on Tverskaya

A memorial ballerina's apartment was opened on Tverskaya

A memorial ballerina’s apartment was opened on Tverskaya

It would be logical to assume that Maya Plisetskaya lived in a “house with a ballerina” (it is also called a “house under a skirt” – until 1958, a figure of a girl stood on the corner turret of the house at 28 Tverskoy Boulevard). But no, although nearby, on Tverskaya. Maya Mikhailovna and Rodion Shchedrin settled in the house of the People’s Commissariat of Forests and the Bolshoi Theater – a massive eight-story building located between Mamonovsky and Blagoveshchensky lanes. (“The entrance is opposite the bar “Nur” – the employees of the Bakhrushin Museum explain).

Maya Mikhailovna and Rodion Shchedrin settled in the house of Narkomles and the Bolshoi Theater

Maya Mikhailovna and Rodion Shchedrin settled in the house of Narkomles and the Bolshoi Theater

A photo: Evgenia KOROBKOVA

The building consists of two parts built at different times. In the thirties, a building was erected for workers in the forest industry. (This half is decorated with images of foresters, birds and all kinds of martens). After the war, a continuation was added for the employees of the Bolshoi Theater. Instead of lumberjacks and other lambermen, masks, wings and other attributes of theatrical activity appeared on the facade. The decoration was more modest than for foresters, but the apartments became larger and more spacious. Not ordinary kopeck pieces and three-room apartments, but three- and five-room dwellings with large hallways and corridors, in the center of which one could set a table and use the room as a living room.

FOR FEES FROM SONGS TO “HEIGHT”

Plisetskaya and Shchedrin moved here in 1963. The apartment was not received for free, but bought with the fees of Rodion Shchedrin.

– I wrote music for popular films, – Shchedrin said: “Height”, “Communism”, “And if this is love.” It was the only real income. But the apartment had to borrow a little more.

Plisetskaya and Shchedrin moved here in 1963.  The apartment was not received for free, but bought with the fees of Rodion Shchedrin.

Plisetskaya and Shchedrin moved here in 1963. The apartment was not received for free, but bought with the fees of Rodion Shchedrin.

Compared to the old dwelling – a tiny apartment on Kutuzovsky, where one could take two steps from the stairwell and jump into bed – the new property was considered a mansion. But in modern times, the apartment (even with two bathrooms) looks modest. Three-room “vest” with two small offices and one large bedroom. Therefore, in order not to push, the Bakhrushinsky Museum limits the number of guests. No more than ten in one session.

Rodion Konstantinovich and Maya Mikhailovna lived here until the 1990s, and after that - on short visits.  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

Rodion Konstantinovich and Maya Mikhailovna lived here until the 1990s, and after that – on short visits. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

Once, fashion historian Alexander Vasilyev made fun of a former ballerina who made repairs in her mansions “in the Pompidou style.” The apartment of Plisetskaya and Shchedrin surprises with its modesty. No columns, gilding, glitter and everything that is expensive and bohat. Not a new renovation, worn parquet … mezzanines.

“Rodion Konstantinovich and Maya Mikhailovna lived here until the 1990s, and after that they came and went,” explains Anastasia Lebedeva, a researcher at the museum.

DRINKING FROM CUT GLASSES

In the nineties, Maya Mikhailovna “left” the Bolshoi Theater. The then chief choreographer Yuri Grigorovich explained this by the need to give way to the young. The offended ballerina and her husband moved to Lithuanian Trakai, and then to Munich.

So in the program “So far, everyone is at home,” which was filmed fifteen years ago in Moscow, Maya Mikhailovna called the Moscow apartment “our third home,” although this is not very fair. It was here that Shchedrin and Plisetskaya lived most of all, it was here that Plisetskaya invented the image of her Carmen and created ballets, which were then staged at the Bolshoi Theater.

Cardin dress.  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

Cardin dress. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

By the way, the place where the program was filmed is easy to recognize. The impromptu living room is arranged in a wide corridor: there is a table here, and around it are built-in cupboards with dishes, figurines, among which it was especially pleasant and unexpected to see a Gzhel vessel with the Komsomolskaya Pravda emblem.

– I do not like luxury, – said Plisetskaya. – Everything superfluous gets in the way, so I like to get rid of and give.

– But what about it, – the presenter “caught” Maya Mikhailovna, pointing to the contents of the cabinets

“All you see are gifts,” Plisetskaya answered imperturbably.

As family friends testified, Plisetskaya did not use either the living room, or the round table, or the beautiful dishes from the cabinets.  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

As family friends testified, Plisetskaya did not use either the living room, or the round table, or the beautiful dishes from the cabinets. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

During the commemorative transmission, it was impressive that there were no treats on the table, and the service stood purely symbolically, without tea. As family friends testified, Plisetskaya did not use either the living room, or the round table, or the beautiful dishes from the cabinets. All friends were received in a modest kitchen with a green refrigerator, where they drank from ordinary faceted glasses. Well, Plisetskaya’s motto “do not eat” is still widely known today.

Now two employees of the museum are sitting in the kitchen: Galina Solovieva and Anastasia Lebedeva. Women non-stop answering the phone. In honor of the opening of the apartment, the phones are ringing, people want to get here, bypassing the official reception hours. We have to explain that the groups have already been formed almost a week in advance, and sessions for visiting are held only a few times a day.

All friends were received in a modest kitchen with a green refrigerator, where they drank from ordinary faceted glasses.  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

All friends were received in a modest kitchen with a green refrigerator, where they drank from ordinary faceted glasses. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

CHAGALL IN A SUITCASE

The museum tried to leave everything as it was under the owners. (In Rodion Shchedrin’s room, the owner’s mini-bar with expensive drinks was even preserved). However, in some places they installed display cabinets, where you can see various touching exhibits. Among them are the ballerina’s children’s shoes with erased toes and the children’s china service, which she kept all her life. From 1932 to 1936, Maya and her father, the first head of Arktikugol, lived in Svalbard. Planes did not fly there, so they got through Norway, where in the Oslo toy store the girl was presented with a doll set she liked.

In some places, showcases have been installed where you can see various touching exhibits.  Among them are the ballerina's children's shoes with erased toes and the children's china service, which she kept all her life.  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

In some places, showcases have been installed where you can see various touching exhibits. Among them are the ballerina’s children’s shoes with erased toes and the children’s china service, which she kept all her life. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

In the dressing room, it seems, the “presence effect” of the mistress of the house has been preserved more than other rooms.

Among the unexpected finds is a drawing by Chagall with a dedicatory inscription by the author. The museum staff found it at the bottom of one of the numerous suitcases of the family, and the find surprised Rodion Shchedrin himself. Now the priceless exhibit is exhibited as it was found – right in the suitcase.

“That’s why we don’t open the windows here, so that the light doesn’t spoil the picture,” explains Anastasia Lebedeva.

Among the unexpected finds is a drawing by Chagall with a dedicatory inscription by the author.  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

Among the unexpected finds is a drawing by Chagall with a dedicatory inscription by the author. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

The largest room is the ballerina’s bedroom. At the head of the bed hangs a carpet by the French artist Fernand Léger and a portrait of the landlady by Artur Fonvizin. For the ability to pose, the artists simply adored Maya Mikhailovna. Plisetskaya froze in the right position and could sit like that for several hours.

The largest room is the ballerina's bedroom.  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

The largest room is the ballerina’s bedroom. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

On the dressing table are Plisetskaya’s favorite perfume Robert Piguet Bandit. According to friends, she remained faithful to this fragrance all her life and proudly stated: “My favorite perfume is called” Bandit “.

On the dressing table are Plisetskaya's favorite perfume Robert Piguet Bandit.  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

On the dressing table are Plisetskaya’s favorite perfume Robert Piguet Bandit. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

The aroma is quite specific, according to some reviews, reeking of fried rubber. The museum plans to buy a bottle and give visitors the opportunity to smell it. True, the purchase of the original bottle is complicated by sanctions.

According to friends, she remained faithful to this fragrance all her life and proudly stated: "My favorite perfume is called Bandit.  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

According to friends, she remained faithful to this fragrance all her life and proudly stated: “My favorite perfume is called” Bandit “. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

“I DID NOT BEAT MAYA MIKHAILOVNA”

In the showcase, delicately located in place of the built-in closet, there are photographs, including Lily Brik. It was this interesting woman who once brought Shchedrin and Plisetskaya together. They met in Brik’s apartment, then Rodion took turns delivering the guests of the hostess, “leaving Maya for a snack.” And after – the ballerina invited the composer to a rehearsal.

This rehearsal had an indelible effect on the composer. Everyone was rehearsing in all sorts of things, and Maya was in an elastic swimsuit bought from a fartsovschitsa … In the program “So far, everyone is at home,” Shchedrin told an original story about those times:

“We had a friend … if he drank 50 grams of vodka, then he beat his wife because she gave herself up on the very first evening. So. I didn’t beat Maya Mikhailovna for this …”

It's amazing that you can safely move around the apartment: there are no museum fences, except perhaps for one room of Rodion Shchedrin.  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

It’s amazing that you can safely move around the apartment: there are no museum fences, except perhaps for one room of Rodion Shchedrin. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

It’s amazing that you can safely move around the apartment: there are no museum fences, except perhaps for one room of Rodion Shchedrin, and even then – in the very corner, where there is another Fernand Léger carpet. (“We don’t want people to walk on it”).

Once there was also a piano in Shchedrin’s office, but in order not to disturb his wife, the composer purchased a neighboring apartment, which he used as a full-fledged office. (This apartment is still owned by Rodion Shchedrin…)

The last time Plisetskaya crossed this threshold was in April 2015, when she and her husband flew to Moscow for the premiere of Rodion Konstantinovich's opera "Lefty".  Photo: Oksana Zuiko

The last time Plisetskaya crossed this threshold was in April 2015, when she and her husband flew to Moscow for the premiere of Rodion Konstantinovich’s opera Lefty. Photo: Oksana Zuiko

“BURN OUR BODIES AFTER DEATH”

The last time Plisetskaya crossed this threshold was in April 2015, when she and her husband flew to Moscow for the premiere of Rodion Konstantinovich’s opera Lefty. On the day of her arrival, she bought a teddy bear at Sapsan and put him on a bedside table in the hallway.

The teddy bear with a heart in his hands, Plisetskaya’s last purchase, remained on the nightstand…

A teddy bear with a heart in his hands, the last purchase of Plisetskaya, remained on the bedside table ... Photo: Oksana Zuiko

A teddy bear with a heart in his hands, the last purchase of Plisetskaya, remained on the bedside table … Photo: Oksana Zuiko

In a few weeks, Maya Mikhailovna will be gone. She died in Munich from a massive heart attack. “Burn our bodies after death, and when the sad hour comes for the death of one of us who lived longer, or in the event of our simultaneous death, combine both of our ashes together and scatter over Russia,” the artist’s will says.

There is no grave of Maya Mikhailovna. The urn with the ashes is kept by Rodion Shchedrin. The place where admirers of the ballerina’s talent could bring flowers was the monument on Bolshaya Dmitrovka, opened in 2015.

But it is in the memorial apartment that the presence of the great ballerina is most felt.

COMMENT

Director General of the Bakhrushin Museum Christina Trubinova:

“The main thing when creating an exposition of any apartment-museum is a skillful combination of memoriality with the latest museum technologies and technical means. We had to determine the fragments that should remain intact as accurately as possible, and then very delicately supplement them with museum expositions.

We have completely preserved the entire interior and furnishings. Preparing for the opening, we discussed the details with Rodion Konstantinovich a lot and in detail – he supported and approved all our ideas.”

HOW TO GET

st. Tverskaya, 25/9, apartment 31.

Daily – sessions at 12:00, 15:00, 17:00 and 18:30. Duration – 45 minutes. The maximum capacity is 10 people.

Ticket price 450-900 rubles per site. Purchase on “Pushkin’s card” is possible!

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