Zorina, Vera

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1917-01-02
Death 2003-04-09
Norwegians

Biographical notes:

Vera Zorina (1917-2003) was a ballet dancer, a movie and musical theater actress, a choreographer, and an opera director. She was born Eva Brigitta Hartwig in Berlin to a German father, Frederick Hartwig, and Norwegian mother, Bille Hartwig (née Abigael Johanne Wimpelmann). In 1933 she joined Col. W. de Basil's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo where her stage name was changed to Vera Zorina. She was married to George Balanchine from 1938 to 1946. After divorcing him she married composer and CBS artistic director Goddard Lieberson (1911-1977) with whom she had two sons, composer Peter Lieberson (1946-2011) and philosopher, writer and journalist Jonathan Lieberson (1949-1989). In 1991 she married harpsichordist Paule Wolfe.

From the guide to the Vera Zorina photographs, ca.1920-2000., (Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Vera Zorina (1917-2003) was a ballet dancer, a movie and musical theater actress, a choreographer, and an opera director. She was born Eva Brigitta Hartwig in Berlin on January 2, 1917 to a German father, Frederick Hartwig, and Norwegian mother, Bille Hartwig (née Abigael Johanne Wimpelmann). In 1933 she joined Col. W. de Basil's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo where her stage name was changed to Vera Zorina. She was married to George Balanchine from 1938 to 1946. After divorcing him she married composer and CBS artistic director Goddard Lieberson (1911-1977) with whom she had two sons, composer Peter Lieberson (1946-2011), and philosopher, writer and journalist Jonathan Lieberson (1949-1989). In 1991 she married harpsichordist Paul Wolfe.

Upon her second marriage she left the stage, but returned in the 1950s as a performer and opera narrator. In 1968 Zorina began directing opera productions at Santa Fe and the New York City Opera, as well as directing and producing musicals, ballets and television programs in Oslo, Norway. In the 1970s she served as director with the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo. In 1976 she was elected Director General of Norwegian television but she resigned in 1977 upon the death of her second husband. In her later years, she produced recording albums, served on the board of directors at CBS and Santa Fe Opera, gave lectures and classes, published an autobiography, and wrote poetry, short stories and essays on dance and musical theater.

Among her most famous roles are leading parts in musical comedies On your toes and I married an angel by Rogers and Hammerstein, the part of Ariel in Margaret Webster's Broadway production of The Tempest, Joan of Arc in the Honegger's oratorio Jeanne d'Arc au Bucher, and Persephone in Stravinsky's melodrama Persephone .

From the guide to the Vera Zorina papers, 1910-2001 (inclusive), 1933-2001 (bulk)., (Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

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