Four "russian" roses of the XX century: 'Anna Pavlova', 'Vera Zorina', 'Olga Tschechowa' and 'Lyudmila Belousova'



Text: Yuta Arbatskaya, Konstantyn Vikhlyayev


1. Anna Pavlova

    In 1981 the whole world celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Anna Pavlova's birth, who was the great Russian ballet dancer. The rose ‘Anna Pavlova’ (HT, Peter Beales, 1981) appeared in her honour in the same year. The sort is bred by English breeder Peter Beales and refers to hybrid tea roses. Flowers are pale pink, full (26- 40 petals), of antique form. The bush height is 100-120 cm, diameter is up to 90 cm. In 1986 the sort was awarded a silver medal at the roses’ competition in Genoa.

rose_anna_pavlova.jpg
Anna Pavlova (HT, Peter Beales, 1981)



    Let’s start from the lines of Svetlana Makarenko, who has explored Pavlova’s creativity:
    “It is known little about her true life. She wrote a wonderful book by her own, but this book was more adverted to tremulous and bright secrets of her art, in which there was more improvisation than her biography. Her husband and impresario Viktor Dandre wrote a magnificent and an expressive book too, where reflection of alive feeling and pain in the heart trembled, having been overwhelmed by sudden lost of darling and beloved creature. But this book is only a little trait to that mysterious thing, which was in her, sparkled and glittered in Anna Pavlova, that was her substance, her breath,- Inspiration that lived in her creative nature” (1).

    Anna Pavlova was born in 1881 in St. Petersburg. When she was ten years old, she entered the ballet department of the Theatre School in St. Petersburg, she graduated it in 1899 and she was accepted in the troupe of corps de ballet of Imperial ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre. In 1990 she received the part of Flora (there was Fokine in the role of Apollo). Then some responsible roles followed one by one, and every part was filled by special sense. Remaining entirely within the classic school, she could be strikingly novel and, performing old ordinary dances, turned it into genuine masterpiece.

    Soon Anna Pavlova becomes the second soloist, and then the first one. In 1902 Pavlova created completely new image of Nikiya in “La Bayadere”, interpreting it in the plane of high tragedy of the spirit. This interpretation changed the stage life of the play. The same happened in the image of Giselle. Personality of the ballet dancer, the style of her dance, soaring jump touched up her partner, future famous choreographer M.M. Fokine, to the creation of “Chopiniana” on the music of F. Chopin (1907). These are stylizations in the spirit of sophisticated revived engraving of the Romanticism Epoch.

    Since 1908 Anna Pavlova has begun to go on tour abroad. In 1907 she debuted in Stockholm. After one of the performances the crowd of audience was following Pavlova’s carriage silently up to the hotel. People didn’t applaud, didn’t talk, because they didn’t want to interrupt the rest of the actress. Nobody went away when the ballet dancer vanished at the hotel. Pavlova wondered how she should act, while the maid told her that she should go to the balcony in order to thank. Anna was met by the storm of applause. She only bowed. And then she hurried to the room, pulled out the basket, given that evening, and began to drop flowers in the crowd: some roses, lilies, violets, lilacs.

1920_pavlova.jpg
Anna Pavlova. Photo 1920th



    Trying to set the play on the stage was naturally for Pavlova. She chose “The night” of Rubinstein for her debut. She appeared in a white long tunic with flowers in her hands and in her hair. Her eyes lit up when she held out her bouquet to somebody. Flexible arms called passionately at one moment and suspended timidly at another. All together it turned to the monologue of mad passion. The following plays were “The Dragonfly” by F. Kreisler, “The Butterfly” by R. Drigo, “Californian Poppy”.

    In 1910 Anna Pavlova went away from Mariinsky Theatre, having created her own troupe. Pavlova included the ballets of Tchaikovsky and Glazunov in the touring repertoire, “Vain Precaution”, “Giselle”, “Coppelia”, “Paquita”, interesting concert plays. The ballet dancer acquainted all the lovers of the ballet with Russian art. Russian choreographers worked in the troupe and there were predominantly Russian dancers. Pavlova with her troupe went on tour in many countries of the world with a triumphal success. She was the first woman, who discovered Russian ballet for the USA, where for the first time ballet shows played to full houses. Fokine created famous “Dying Swan” on the music of C. Saint-Saens for Pavlova. When Saint-Saens saw Pavlova in “The Swan”, he sought a meeting with her and said: “Madam, owing to you, I understood that I had written a wonderful music!” This small choreographic composition became her signature performance. On opinion of her contemporaries, she performed it completely ingeniously. The ray of projector descended and followed the performer on a little or a big stage. The figure, dressed in swan feathers, stood on the pointes with her back to the stage. She flounced at intricate zigzags of death agony and didn’t descend from pointes to the end of the performance. Her force became weaker, she came to an end and left this life at the immortal pose, that lyrically displayed doom, surrender to the winner- to the death.

    In 1912 Pavlova bought her own accommodation “Ivy House” in England. Together with her husband V. Dandre (who was also a producer and a manager of the troupe) she arranged a studio in her house, where she taught ballet arts to English children. Pavlova got involved gardening in her English manor. She always loved nature movingly. She surely brought flowers, seeds, even small trees, having been on tour in different parts of the world. And she planted it in her garden almost every spring, changing the direction of paths, location of flowerbeds and lawns a little bit. Unfortunately, the flowers decayed in London climate. But Pavlova insistently replaced it with new ones.

    The garden took enough time and energy, but on the other hand, there was incomparable joy. When Pavlova lived in London, no matter how late she came back home from the theatre, she obligatory passed to the garden, admired it and admitted the smallest disorder. She spoke to flowers and trees affectionately, believing that it understand her in its own way. In rare hours of rest Pavlova gladly lied in hammock and observed how birds joyfully bathed in the fountain, how the bright poppy unfolded the petals under the rays of morning sun.

    A big terrace faced the pond. The swans swam there and her beloved one among it- snow-white and proud beauty Jack, which followed her through the garden like a dog, without any fear to take delicacy from her hands.

anna_pavlova_1920s.jpg


1920_pavlova_1.jpg


1920_pavlova_2.jpg
Anna Pavlova in garden Ivy House in England. Photo 1920th


1925_pavlova_1.jpg
Анна Pavlova beside itself in garden. The National library to Australia. Photo 1925


    Pavlova connected her life with Viktor Dandre, one of the most capable impresario of his time, who for the first time understood the power of the press. He arranged press- conferences constantly, invited press photographers and newsmen at Pavlova’s performances, and gave numerous interviews, connected with her life and art. For instance, outplayed plots beautifully, inspired by the romantic image of “The Swan”. Plenty of photos were kept, depicting Anna Pavlova at the bank of the river, where wonderful snow-white birds were gliding on the mirror-like surface.

    Pavlova adored Dandre. She never loved him by ordinary human love, namely, adored and that was the music for them both. Anna carped to Victor, like a capricious child, moved to tears and despair. Then she got hysterical too and tumbled against shut door of his cabinet, begging to let her in. Having attained forgiveness, she started a new scene.

    The life of Viktor Dandre next to Pavlova was like an act of self-denial. He ensured a paradise life for her, taking all the care on himself. He was not only the owner of all the theatre enterprise, but also he was a “housekeeper” in a huge house, tracing all the wishes of her beloved Anna was satisfied. From time to time Anna resumed: “A suitable husband for a wife – is like music for a dance”.

    Many miniatures were created under influence of world folk dances, which she had been interested in during numerous travels. This outwardly fragile woman was tireless.
    Pavlova set a few impressionistic simple items, which made a huge impression only at her soulful and elegant performance (“California Poppy”, “Chrysanthemum”, “Autumn Leaves”, “Japanese Butterfly”, “Dying Rose”, etc.). The names of choreographic miniatures speak for themselves.

    As our main theme is roses, we should mention one-act ballet “A Vision of a Rose” (“Spectre de la Rose”) on the music of K.M.Veber. The plot is based on two initial lines of Theophile Gautier poem: “I am a spirit of roses, which you wore yesterday at the ball…” The manager of the play was captured by these lines and the music of Carl Weber's “Invitation to the Dance”, orchestrated by G. Berlioz, helped a famous choreographer to create picturesque plastic form of his ballet. Girl’s dance in the play is a spirit. This is a dream. This is a scent of a rose, caress of its tender petals and much more for what you can’t find defining words. The hands’ technique especially strokes the spectators: hands live, tell, sing, but do not perform “positions”.

1915_pavlova_spectre_de_la_rose.jpg
Anna Pavlova is at the ballet “A Vision of a Rose". The photo was taken in 1915


    Pavlova was extremely superstitious. She fervently noticed the signs: she was afraid of thunderstorms, the meeting with the priest, empty buckets and black cats. She turned things, which were downright nonsense for others, into a special secret sign. Once upon a time, when she visited her friends, looking at a huge bush of tea roses, she said: “So, when this bush dies, I will die. So it is. I know exactly”.

    More than once Anna was convinced to go on vocation and have a rest. “What’s the matter- she babbled,-I should work. I have a troupe in my arms. If I don’t have time to live, I should die in motion on my feet.

1912_pavlova_hotel_ritz.jpg
Pavlova 1 May 1912 in calve "Ric"



    In January 1931 a famous ballet dancer arrived on tour in the Netherlands, where she was well-known and beloved. Apparently, the actress caught a bad cold while travelling around winter France by train. She suffered slight running nose on her feet and then she got over inflammation of the lungs, which turned into pleurisy. It is weird, but Anna Pavlova’s words about the bush of roses turned out prophetic. When she felt ill, the flowers were covered with rust stains and died in a few days. In three days, the great Russian ballet dancer, died, not having lived eight days before her fiftieth birthday.

    Anna Pavlova didn’t have noted titles, she didn’t leave either followers, nor schools.

    The troupe was loosed after her death, her property was sold. There was only a legend of the great Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, whose name was given to prizes and international awards. Feature films and documentaries were devoted to her. French choreographer R. Pety set the ballet “My Pavlova”. The world leading ballet dancers perform the plays of her repertoire. And Pavlova’s “Dying Swan” is immortalized be performances of Galina Ulanova, Ivet Shovire and Maya Plisetskaya.



2. Vera Zorina



    And we will talk again about ballet and also cinema. The rose ‘Zorina’ was created in the USA in 1963 by Eugene Boerner (Eugene S. Boerner) in honour of American dancer and actress Vera Zorina, the wife of George Balanchine.

rose_zorina_1963_2.jpg
'Zorina' (Fl, Eugene S. Boerner, 1963)



    The sort has small flowers (4-7 cm) of an orange color with a strong aroma, refers to a group of Floribunda. Parent varieties are ‘Pinocchio’ and ‘Spartan’. Synonym is ‘Rozorina’. In 1964 the sort was awarded a gold medal at the competition in Rome. Despite the fact that the rose has many rosarium-museums, both in America and in Europe this sort is almost unknown to the gardeners, as it has never had any commercial success. However, such characteristics as long flowering allowed German breeder Kordes using the species of ‘Zorina’ as a parent hybrid, while creating new variations. As was found, ‘Zorina’ manifests itself in greenhouses and conservatories much better than outdoors.

    Vera Zorina is the stage name of Eva Brigitta Hartwig, who, finding herself in the ballet troupe “Russian Ballet of Monte Carlo” in 1933, was forced to change her German name to something Russian and exotic. Vera learned Russian and spent three years with the famous ballet company, appearing on a variety of platforms, starting from the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London and finishing by musical theatre Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in New York.

vera_zorina.jpg
Vera Zorina. Photo 1930th



    Eva Brigitta Hartwig was born on January 2, 1917 in Berlin. The daughter of German Fritz and Norwegian Billy Hartwig has begun to study ballet since she was two years old, and she has performed since four years old. She was educated at Berlin high school for girls, but she perceived dance under Olga Preobrajenska and Nikolai Legat control. Her latest teachers were Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky.

    When the dance prodigy was 12, she was introduced to Max Reinhardt, who singled out the place for her in the ensemble cast of Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1929) and in the production of “The Tales of Hoffmann” (1931). In 1937 the ballet dancer received a leading role in the film «On Your Toes» (“On tiptoes”), where she played the role of the dancer Vera Barnova. The film was set in the genre of detective- musical, and the scenes of classical ballet were used for the first time. Choreography was set by George Balanchine.

    Soon she was noticed by a famous American film director and producer Samuel Goldwyn and he offered to arrange a contract for seven years. The first American movie-musical with her participation is “Goldwyn Follies” (1938). The music of George Gershwin sounded in the film, which did the movie very popular. The ballet piece “Water Nymph”, staged by Balanchine, was inserted in the plot. In the same year, the wedding of Balanchine and Vera Zorina took place.

goldwynfollies01.jpg
Vera Zorina is at the scene “Water Nymph” in 1938



    George Balanchine (who was George Balanchivadze from his birth), a member of the troupe of the State Opera and Ballet Theatre, having appeared in 1924 in Paris, after a tour in Germany, was invited by Sergei Diaghilev in place in the Russian ballet choreographer. Soon Balanchine became the choreographer of Russian Ballet, and during 1924-1929 (before the death of Diaghilev) he set nine major ballets and several small separate pieces. A serious knee injury did not allow him to continue a dance career, and he completely switched to choreography.

     After Diaghilev’s death the troupe began to disintegrate and Balanchine left it. In October, 1933 he moved to the USA, where he opened a ballet school immediately. In 1935 Balanchine founded the professional troupe – “American Ballet”, which first danced at the Metropolitan Opera and then it toured as an independent team.

balanchine_01.jpg
George Balanchine


bio_gb_teaching.jpg
Ballet class of George Balanchine in NEW YORK. Photo 1930th



    So, it was in 1938. Vera was 20 years old, she had already played the main roles in two films, had married Balanchine and signed a contract with the Hollywood Company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for 7 years. That was unbelievable success! Every following year was the new film: “I Was an Adventuress” (1940), “Louisiana Purchase” (1941), “Star Spangled Rhythm” (1942), “Follow the Boys” (1944). She impressed greatly on the Broadway as a participant of the production “I Married an Angel”.

    In 1946 she starred in the film “Lover Come Back”, and then her contract was finished. She divorced Balanchine in the same year and then she married the president of the company «Columiba Records» Goddard Lieberson.

zorina_5.jpg
Vera Zorina. Photo 1930th



    In 1948 Vera Zorina took the lead role in the drama “Joan of Arc at the stake” on the music of Arthur Honegger, where she played the role of narrator. Subsequently, she performed similar roles many times in other productions. Often these concerts were arranged for the blind. Her melodic voice and a light nice accent in combination with a passionate manner of reading enthralled listeners, moreover she read in several languages. She also worked as a music consultant and producer in the company of a spouse while recording music albums, especially when writing dance music.

    In 1970-ies Zorina became a director of The Norwegian Opera in Oslo. At the same time she led several productions at the opera house in Santa Fe, NM (USA): “Madame Butterfly” by Puccini, “Dialogues des Carmelites” by Poulenc and “Daphne” by Richard Strauss.

     In 1977 her husband, Goddard Lieberson, died and then Vera Zorina died in Santa Fe in April 2003 too. Until her death, Zorina remained an honorary director of the Santa Fe Opera.
It is curious that the rose ‘Zorina’ was very popular in Yalta in 1970-1980’s. During these years, on the southern coast of the Crimea the company of widespread greening of cities and towns was held, and the rose ‘Zorina’ could be found in almost every park and square. Today, unfortunately, the rose is held almost nowhere. However, there is much that hasn’t kept in the Crimea since that time.



3. 3. Olga Tschechowa



    Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Olga Tschechowa’ was created in 1978 by Scottish breeder Anna Cocker (Anne G. Cocker). The sort has very large bright yellow flowers with unusually strong aroma. Bush height is up to 1 meter.

rose_olga_tschechowa.jpg
Olga Tschechowa (HT, Anne G. Cocker, 1978)



    Anna Cocker is a famous woman-gardener in the world of professionals and lovers of roses. A family enterprise was based in 1841 by James Cocker in the town of Aberdeen in the north of the UK. The breeding nursery initially contained mainly forest and herbaceous plants for sale. Increased demand for seedlings required constant growth of areas for planting, and, moving from place to place, the descendants of James eventually purchased a farm White Mires, where the company is located today.

    In 1964 the family council decided to specialize in growing and breeding roses. For several years, the company has produced more than a hundred new species, and such as ‘Silver Jubilee’, ‘Alec’s Red’, ‘Glenfiddich’, ‘Remember Me’, ‘Gordon’s College’ have been recognized as the best in international competitions of roses in Belfast, Glasgow, The Hague and in New Zealand. In 1976, as a sign of “recognition of the quality and achievement of high standards” enterprise “Cocker and Sons” was honored as a supplier of roses to the court of the Queen Elizabeth II.

    The rose ‘Olga Tschechowa’ was produced on the 80th anniversary of the actress.

     Today, probably, there is nobody who has not heard the name of Olga Tschechowa. In 1971 the famous film star in Nazi Germany, Hitler’s favorite, Olga Tschechowa published memoirs, which were called “My clock is different”. Vitaliy Wolf writes in the preface to the Russian edition:

    “...The real life story of Olga Tschechowa is full of mysteries, they are barely outlined in her memoirs, and it is very difficult to understand the secrets of her biography by them. Germans worshiped their “star”. Olga Tschechowa is a fame, seductive beauty, fabulous fees. The vamp, who knows how to reopen the male melancholy. Hitler loved the tape with her participation. She starred in German empty and sentimental luxury thrillers. Her fantastic beauty, will and mind allowed her to connect the model culture and aristocratic one on the screen, which she depicted... And no one guessed that Olga Tschechowa was a top secret agent of the NKVD” (2).

tschechowa_1.jpg
Olga Tschechowa. Photo 1937



    Olga Konstantinovna Tschechowa was born on April 13, 1897 in Alexandrapol’ (now Leninakan) in a noble family of Russianized German - Railroad Engineer Konstantin Leonardovich Knipper, brother of the celebrated actress of Art Theatre Olga Knipper-Tschechowa.

    Olga spoke two native languages since her childhood- Russian and German. She also spoke French and Italian. Up to 17 she lived with her parents sometimes in the Caucasus and sometimes in Petrograd. On the threshold of the First World War, she was sent to Moscow to the beloved “Aunt Olya”. Mykhael Tschechow, the writer’s nephew, then the actor of the famous Art Theatre, saw a young beauty there. Blazed up love affair developed rapidly and it finished soon by a secret wedding of the newly-weds in the village chapel near Moskow. Daughter was born in this marriage, she was named Olga by christening, but soon everyone called her Ada. In December, 1917 Tschechowa’s marriage fell apart. Referring to V. Wolf again:

    “Years of life with Michael Tschechow gave Olga Konstantinovna very much: she was friends with the son of Stanislavsky, the son of Kachalov, moved in Art Theatre circle, celebrated MHAT actors Stanislavsky, Nemirovich-Danchenko, Sullerzhitsky treated her with interest.She knew Gorky and Vahtangov, Dobuzhynsky and Baliev, the creator of the theatre “Flying Rat”, she often was on the plays of the Art Theatre and The First Studio and understood very well, how everybody value a great talent of her husband and her great aunt, whose she honored all her life. Since the years of her youth she absorbed the air of Olga Leonardovna’s house, atmosphere inside the Art Theatre, that creative store, which she will never meet in her future life" (3).

    Olga left Mychael Tschechow with Frederic Yaroshi, former Austro- Hungarian soldier, a handsome seducer and adventurer. She married him, and in January, 1921 she moved to Germany with him. Olga Konstantinovna, having parted with the second husband soon, turned over a new leaf in Berlin. Insistence and purposefulness, beautiful, dispassionate and impenetrable face, concealing a constant enigma, a rare ability to work made a miracle. At “small theatres” and at a big stage she played Russian plays in German.

    But real fame came to her in the movie: “Masquerade”, “Hannerl and Her Lover”, “Beautiful Orchids”. A well-known film at that time “Moulin Rouge” (1929) with Olga Tschechowa starring went on screens of the world.

    Each year, Olga acted more and more. She had a luxury apartment in the centre of Berlin and her daughter was brought up by an English nurse. Tschechowa had acted in 18 movies two years before the war (and altogether in 145). Olga Tschehowa became “a star” of the first rate with the coming of Hitler to power. Goebbels did not love her, but it did not matter for her. Hitler loved her, he even granted her the honorary title of “National actress of the Reich”.

olga_chehova_1.jpg



     It was she, who accompanied Hitler at all the social events, not Eva Braun. Fuhrer liked to visit Olga at the mornings to drink a cup of tea. He called her affectionately “Our Olli” without insisting Tschechowa to change her Slavic last name. And when Germans invaded the Crimea, he did her small caprice: he ordered not to bomb and rob Tschechowa’s ancestral home in Yalta. In early 1945, when the Third Reich straggled in agony, Himmler planned to eliminate Tschechowa, but got a scolding from Hitler- State actress was untouchable.

    Olga was friends with Eva purely feminine: they spent much time together and chatted about different nonsense. Her other best friend was Emma Zonnemann, who was Gering’s wife.

    But Goebbels was the man, who Tschechowa openly hated and despised. Like many of those in power, he tried to court to Olga, but he did it roughly and, having received another rejection, secretly schemed intrigues to the actress. Having searched the Jewish roots of Tschechowa’s new husband, Karl Wolf, who was a film director, Goebbels actually banned him making films, and then Wolf was found dead just outside the theater, where Olga was playing at that time.

    In the 40-ies Tschechowa often travelled to the front line, she performed with concerts for German soldiers. But she refused from trips to the Eastern Front: at the conflict of Germany and Russia Olga defiantly took a neutral position.

    At the end of the war the movie star was near Berlin. She remained at her home with her daughter and granddaughter. After the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, Tschechowa was flown on a military aircraft to Moscow. Olga was settled there at a secret address for a few months, she was interrogated by Victor Abakumov the Commissar of the State Security, and then she was questioned by Lavrentiy Beria. Stalin met Tschechowa too. Everybody could be put to the wall without a trial for one tea with Hitler, but inexplicable happens – having ensured security to Tschechowa, having provided supply of food and an impressive amount of money, the actress was sent back to Germany.

    It is hard to say exactly, which actions committed Olga Tschechowa in favor of Russia during the war. The leaders of press office of the Foreign Intelligence insist that “any information, that she was an agent of the NKVD, was not found in the materials”. Meanwhile attention of KGB leadership to her, the personal interest of Beria left no doubt that both her visit to Moscow in 1945, and care of Abakumov for her were not random.

    A number of articles appeared in German and international press soon after her trip to Moscow, where it was confirmed that Olga Tschechowa was a double agent of Hitler and Stalin during the Second World War. Later, however, none of the publications was documented, and indeed Olga Tschechowa denied this fact in her book.

tschechowa_2.jpg
Olga Tschechowa. Photo 1970-th.



    After war Tschechowa settled at the Eastern part of Germany, acted much and went on tour. In 1949 she moved to Munich. In 1955 Olga announced the completion of cinematic career, and ten years later - after her only daughter Ada had died in a car accident - she also left theatre. Tschechowa took care of grandchildren Vera and Misha.

    In 1965 the actress opened a beauty salon “Cosmetics of Olga Tschechowa”, which was successfully used by movie stars and pop singers. And now, women all over the world follow her advice: “First you have to clean the skin and then shoes”.

     At the end of 1960-ies, she founded the cosmetics company “Olga Tschechowa”, the affairs of which she ran till the end of her life. In 1977 he was going to come back home, she sent all the necessary paperwork, but a travel authorization was not received. Olga Tschechowa died of brain cancer when she was 83.

    The actress’s daughter Olga Mikhailovna Tschechowa married a famous gynecologist William Rust, she lived with her mother, in 1940 she gave birth to a daughter, Vera, in Berlin. In the postwar years, she had a lot of work in a small theatre, which was opened by her mother. In 1966 she died in a plane crash. Granddaughter Vera and grandson Michael were brought by grandmother.

     Vera Tschechowa - Rust became an actress, continuing a dynasty. In 2006 she was awarded “For the contribution to German cinema”, established by the Hessen state authorities. Nevertheless only after the death of her grandmother Vera Tschechowa came to Russia, she was presented in Melikhov at celebration of the 80th anniversary of Anton Pavlovich Tschechow death, she was a member of the XIII Moscow International Film Festival (1983).



4. Lyudmila Belousova



    Hybrid tea rose ‘Lyudmila’ (‘Ludmilla’, HT, Laperrière, 1968) was breeded by the French firm Laperriere in 1968 and was dedicated to the Soviet skater Lyudmila Belousova. In the year of the rose appearance Lyudmila with his partner Oleg Protopopov won gold medals at the Winter Olympics in Grenoble.

rose_ludmilla_1968.jpg
Ludmilla (HT, Laperriere, 1968)



    The sort blooms of saturated purple flowers, has a medium strength fragrance, the height of the bush is from 0,75 till 1,5 meters. “Parents” of a rose are sorts ‘Peace’ (HT, Meilland, 1942) and ‘Independence’ (Fl, Kordes, 1951). Ironically, Belousova and Protopopov, who were forced to immigrate to Switzerland, had the least of peace and independence in their homeland.

    Joseph Laperriere was the author of the sort, though his father, Louis Laperriere, who had died 16 years before the Olimpic Games in Grenoble, was indicated in the catalogues. In fact, the authorship in the family firm of Laperriere was written either at Louis Laperriere, or at all the members of the family at the same time.

    The names of Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov are familiar for older people, but younger readers may not know the story of their lives, full of triumph and tragedy.

    Lyudmila Belousova was born in 1935 in Ulyanovsk, and later her family moved to Moscow. As a child, she was fond of different sports (gymnastics, tennis, skating), but started skating quite late - at sixteen years old, having watched the Austrian film “Spring on the ice”. In 1951 the first artificial ice rink was built at the Soviet Union in Moscow, and Belousova joined to a children’s group in figure skating. In 1954 she met Oleg Protopopov from Leningrad at a seminar in Moscow. They decided just to skate together, trying to do some elements. Sportsmen seemed they fit to each other, and in 1955 they began training together. In 1957 the skaters got married, but Belousova performed under her maiden name.

    First, figure skaters practiced under the guidance of I. B. Moskvin, and then they were under the leadership of P. P. Orlov, but eventually they resigned the guidance and began to invent their own programs. The first success came in 1962: the skaters finally won their first championship of the USSR (from the tenth attempt!) and took the second places at the European Championships and the World Championships. At the Olympics-64 they suddenly, with a preference of one judge's vote, beat the absolute favorites M. Kilius – H.-J. Baumler (Germany).

    Their programs of 1965- 1968 became masterpieces, at which the image of lovers was inspiredly disclosed with a sophisticated psychologism, almost absolute synchronicity of all the moves and wonderful beauty and softness were reached. It was the first sport couple, who created lyrical and romantic image on the ice, so brilliantly embodied in the famous compositions “Dreams of Love” by Massenet, “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven and “The Dying Swan” by Saint-Saens.

    Belousova - Protopopov led the world couple skating to the way of art enrichment of programs. However, in 1966 the sharpest competition was formed by a new couple Zhuk- Gorelik, who lost the World Cup by only one judge's vote. At the World Cup in 1968 the program was perfected and the judge put 6.0 grades for artistry.

    The peak of their performance was the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. As Grenoble is just a few dozen kilometers from Lyon, it was likely that Joseph Laperriere was able to see the program of the Soviet skaters on his own and admired the skills of the sportsmen. The rose ‘Ludmilla’ is a perfect appreciation of Belousova creativity and a deserved addition to judicial 6.0.

ludmila_oleg_1.jpg
Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov. Photo 1960-th



    The couple of Belousova - Protopopov had been continuing to shine on the ice rink up to 1969, when a young couple Rodnina – Lancers came to the global ice rink. Belousova – Protopopov didn’t get to the world Olympic Games in Sapporo in 1972, despite their victory in the tournament for the newspaper prize “Nouvelles de Moscou”, where candidates were selected to the team for a trip to Japan. Arguments were different: the skaters grew old (Oleg was 39 years old then, Lyudmila was 36) and they lost speed and even that “their presence will irritate the leaders of the team - Rodnina and Ulanov!” (4). Then they were treated by “Party” authorities, explaining how to skate to be worthy of the title of Soviet figure skaters: once at the Central Committee of the CPSU, where they were called to “a conversation”, it was said that Oleg and Lyudmila “skated too theatrical and their style became old-fashioned’ (5).

    In 1973 Oleg and Lyudmila appeared on the ice in the soloists’ role of the Leningrad Ice Ballet...

ludmilla_beloussowa_oleg_protopopow.jpg
Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov. Germany. 1968



     In 1979 during a foreign tour skaters decided to stay in Switzerland. What happened here! The poisonous notes about the immigrants appeared in the press of the Soviet Union, they were declared as “enemies of the nation” and it was even forbidden to the Soviet skaters not only to talk, but also to greet with Lyudmila and Oleg on tour in Europe. The skaters’ names crossed out of all Soviet reference books, which tell about the Olympic achievements.

    During 1979-1982 a couple had been going on a tour around the United States for three years. When they returned, they settled in a small Swiss town of Gryundenvald. Having been rejected at native land, Oleg and Lyudmila continued to train and perform around the world. They became friends with Rostropovich and Solzhenitsyn, they helped much to the family of the chess player Korchnoi.

    In 1995 Oleg Protopopov and Lyudmila Belousova received a Swiss citizenship. They are still in excellent shape, despite their age. In 2003 the couple visited Russia for the first time since their departure abroad. During 18 years the skaters perform in Hartford, where all the fees from their performances are taken for the treatment of children with cancer.

References and sources:

1. Makarenko S. Anna Pavlovna Pavlova - a dancing diamond or revived inspiration. //www.peoples.ru/love
2. Wulf V. The fate of Olga Tschechowa. //Olga Tschechowa. My clock is different. M.Vagrius, 1998.
3. Ibid.
4. Express newspaper. http://eg.ru/daily/skating/9252/
5. Ibid.