1941—1944. She works a lot, giving frequent performances both in theatre and on the concert platform, she never fails to list the cities in which she appears in her exercise-book: Perm, Sverdlovsk, Alma- Ata, Molotov, Kalinin …
Letters to Ulanova, written during the war and in the postwar period, have survived. They express respect, delight in her dancing, as well as admiration for her courage.
“Dear Galina Ulanova! I want to remind you of your frequent performances at concerts for the wounded soldiers at Military Hospital No. 2560, on Kuibyshev Street. What joy you brought to these disfigured, crippled men. I want to remind you in particular of a concert before the wounded in the hospital assembly hall. It was for those who could make it to the hall on crutches, those who were bed-ridden were excluded. In Ward No. 9, there were 20 such patients, minus arms and legs, who also wanted to watch you dance, listen to the music and to forget, for a while, their mangled bodies. After the concert in the assembly hall was over, I decided to approach you on their behalf and ask you to perform for them too. You had already changed but, when I told you about these unhappy creatures, despite the fact you were tired, you put on your costume again and danced for them. It was very crowded in the ward, it must have been very hot for you and you only had a pin’s head on which to dance. But what happiness you brought to these severely wounded men! They forgot they had neither legs nor arms and could not applaud you. But when they thanked you their voices rang with profound respect. And after your performance, their spirits lifted, they referred to you as their little sister, it was as if the non-existent fingers and toes on their hands and feet had moved. I would like to express great gratitude for the sensitivity and solicitude you showed to the wounded soldiers of the Second World War. I’m a native Muscovite, I was evacuated from Lithuania with Military Hospital 2560 during the war.
Please forgive this letter, with all my best,
Nurse Dinariya Mikhailovna Polyakova.”
1942 — February, March, April, «Red Army Concert» appears with increasing frequency in the exercise-book repertory list.
June — The Theatre is on holiday and Ulanova goes to Alma-Ata where her husband, Yury Zavadsky, chief director of the Mossoviet Theatre, has been evacuated together with his Company. Also evacuated to Alma-Ata was the Mosfilm Studio where Sergei Eisenstein was preparing to shoot the film Ivan the Terrible. He invited Ulanova to play the role of Tsarina Anastasia, and she did a screen-test. Her theatre work made it impossible for her to take part in the filming however, and the role was given to Lyudmila Tselikovskaya. The screen-test has been preserved as well as a remarkable article by Eisenstein on the ballerina’s art.
December, 19th Concert. Schumann. 4 months’ off work with typhoid fever.
1943 — May 8th, first concert ‹after illness, Act 3 Fountain.
And, as always in May, comes the following entry in the exercise-book:
16th May. Day of graduation concert, 15 years of work in the theatre.
From October to end December, she works in the city of Molotov, as Perm had been renamed.
1944, January — Moscow, concerts at different venues in the city: House of Scientists, Conservatoire, NKVD Club, Maly Theatre.
The word ‘Leningrad’ returns to the exercise-book, the blockade of the city had been lifted:
April, 29th Leningrad, Concert NKVD Club. Liszt. Preobrazhensky.
Her endless performances in the clubs and military hospitals of Moscow and Molotov continue, in July she gives concerts in liberated Kiev.
August Moscow. Opening of Season.
28th Giselle, open dress rehearsal. Yermolayev.
30th Giselle, first night.
From October 1944, she becomes a Muscovite, although she continues to go back to her native city to give performances:
In Leningrad, I was used to a fairly austere, restrained manner of dance. The Moscow school of dance is more free, liberated perhaps, emotionally open. Here the stage is bigger, demanding greater amplitude. To understand and assimilate this style I attended Asaf Messerer’s male class. His class helped me acquire great elevation and breadth of dance.
1944 — Rostislav Zakharov revives the Moscow version of The Fountain of Bakhchisaray with Ulanova asMaria. Svyatoslav Richter and Nina Dorliak see her in this role: «Ulanova’s dance competes with the all-powerful word. It expresses movements of the soul which are so profound, they cannot be put into words. To this most conventional genre of ballet, the great ballerina brings an unprecedented vital genuineness. But this is not play-acting, she presents art as the highest manifestation of life, where beauty and wisdom are united. In addition to unforgettable characters, she creates an artistic world of her own — a kingdom of human spirituality»
December 3rd Moscow. Giselle Vermolayev, performance for De Gaulle’s visit.
1945 — concerts alternate with performances and now she goes to Leningrad — where in March she dances Giselle with Vakhtang Chabukiani — from Moscow. Giselle at the Bolshoi Theatre with Vladimir Preobrazhensky and Mikhail Gabovich. At the Bolshoi, Ulanova has the same main roles in The Fountain of Bakhchisaray and Giselle, as well as frequent performances at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, the Aviators’ Club, the Hall of Columns. Partnered by Vladimir Preobrazhensky, she performs Nocturne to music by Robert Schumann, in her exercise-book she notes:
May 5th Concert. Aviaitors’ Club, for Churchill,
8th Giselle. Gabovich, for Madame Churchill.
8-9th Victory Day. And of war with Germany.
In July-August, Ulanova and Preobrazhensky are sent to Vienna, where they take part in concerts, she also gives solo performances at Vienna’s Reinhardt Theatre, the opera house, and the royal palace.
August. 2nd Solo concert. Baden. Opera House.
Drigo, Le Cygne, Rachmaninov, Rubinstein.
Vaslav Nijinsky and his wife Romola were present at one of the above concerts.
November. 15th Cinderella. Preobrazhensky. Closed evening performance for creative review council. Like premiere.
Sergei Prokofiev kept his promise and wrote a ballet for Galina Sergeevna
I began rehearsing Cinderella after the war, at the Bolshoi Theatre. I tried to persuade Prokofiev to give Cinderella the marvelous musical theme for the Beggarwoman Fairy, which I very much liked. But my attempts came to nothing. Prokofiev, a composer with a very individual vision and huge creative will-power, is someone who sticks firmly to his principles and won’t hear of compromise. Having visualized, heard a theme suited to the Beggarwoman Fairy, nothing and no one could force him to change his mind and give it to Cinderella or another character.
Cinderella was delayed due to the war and the ballet became a present for those who had won it .