Serge Lifar why was a witness of the London season reminisces in an issue of Russkaya mysl ( Russian Thought – Russian -language newspaper , published in Paris – tr. n.) for 1958:
« Much-respected Galina Sergeyevna, In the spring of 1954, you, with a group of dancers from the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre, at long last visited Paris. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond your control, .your performances at the Opera were cancelled. You left France and we never met. I saw your rehearsals though from «afar» — sitting in the gallery — and admired your art… I had the opportunity of seeing you again on stage in London, in 1956. With what reverence, I sympathized with your anxiety and agitation at rehearsals and during the performance of Giselle when, looking at you, I was carried away by your inspired emotion, or your «soulful flight»… It was with pride that I presented you and your partner Fadeyechev with the Pavlova and Nijinsky Paris Institute of Dance prizes for 1958 …»
Since the Bolshoi Theatre administration refused to allow its dancers to accept these prizes, Lifar had to leave them — a bronze medal depicting a group of dancers and a diploma — in the safe-keeping of the Bibliothéque-Musée de l’Opéra, part of the National Library It was only in 1980, that Ulanova and Fadeyechev were eventually handed these awards — Lifar managed to time this to coincide with Galina Sergeyevna’s 70th anniversary.
25th, night-time Giselle, Fodeyechev, Koren. Filming Giselle.
Strain and tiredness notwithstanding, Ulanova had to spend the whole night, till the early hours of the morning, on stage. Pressed for time, the English wanted to complete filming Ulanova in Giselle.
27th Romeo, Zhdanov. Princess Margeret, the Queen’s sister was at the performance.
3rd return to Moscow by plane.
17th November Giselle. Ruptured ligament and first spasms in the right leg during Act 2 of Giselle; I fainted as I was making my entrance, the curtain came down. Struchkova took over dancing the second act.
20th March Romeo 100th performance, Zhdanov, Yermoleyev, Koren.
First time since injury.
The Bolshoi Theatre was again on tour abroad., in France, Belgium, Germany.
Foreign tour. Frence 1958. Paris. Grend Opére. 30th Mey Romeo, Zhdanov, Richter, Sekh.
In Paris, Galina Ulanova and Vadim Ryndin met the Russian artists Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov, who had been living there since 1915. After the tour, Larionov wrote to them: « … Paris is a very strict judge, but it was, without doubt, enraptured — especially by the unsurpassed Ulanova — … what struck me about her was her intelligence and tact. Such people are the product of work, not of an easy life — one has to have talent, but the main thing is to develop it and put it to good use. I am sure she would have achieved an equal success in any field.»
Moscow. 31st October, Bolshoi Theatre 2nd Stage, Chopiniana, Kondreteva, Timofeyeva, Fedeyechev end Nutcracker, Act 3. 30 years as a professional dancer. Graduation examination Chopiniana, 30 years on and Chopiniana again.
April, May, June, the Bolshoi Theatre is on tour in America and Canada. The tour was organized by the legendary impresario Sol Hurok. Performances were given in the following cities: New York, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto. Ulanova danced 35 times. And everywhere she got a rapturous response from spectators and critics. It was then that Chaliapin’s son, Boris, an artist well-known in America, painted her portrait.
September, October — Bolshoi Theatre tour to China. Ulanova dances Le Cygne and Chopiniana
14th October. Filming Chopiniana.
The grand old man of Chinese theatre, Mei Lanfang, wrote:
«The Dying Smart … danced by Galina Ulanova … There are no sets on stage, but it is as if the ballerina brought with her into the auditorium the autumn chill of a silent lake, the cold light of the moon, in which is reflected the shadow of a lonely swan. Her gestures carry a memory of a spring that is no more, of love, suffering…»
1960 — January — Ulanova is unwell, in February she dances Romeo and Juliet, Giselle.
March. From 1st March I get a pension,
April, from 1st April a creative pension
She goes on dancing at the Bolshoi Theatre till the end of the year.
April, 28th Leningrad. Gerbek jubilee. Romeo Act 2, Sergeyev, Koren, me.
December, 29th Chopiniana, Fadeyechev.
At this 29 December performance at the Bolshoi Theatre, she dances Chopiniana for the last time.
1961 — January — 11th, filming, Chopin Waltz. Khokhlov.
Two tours are recorded in the exercise-book — to Egypt where, at Cairo Opera House, Ulanova appeared in The Fountain of Bakhchisaray, and danced Chopiniana and The Dying Swan, and to Hungary with part of the Bolshoi Theatre Company:
10th August in Budapest in Hungary I danced Le Cygne
for the last time, 33 years on stage…
1963 16 May 35 years as a professional dancer
18 May 1974. Jubilee at Bolshoi Theatre. 30 years of work at the Theatre and 15 years in Leningrad. It all took place at the Bolshoi Theatre. 1 — Chopiniana, II — Dívertíssement, III — Romeo Clips from e documentary film. A great many fłowers. I was made Hero of Socialist Labor, awarded the Order of Lenin and the gold hammer end sickle medal.
Also celebrated on this occasion was the 16th, the day of my first graduation performance.
The names of her ballets and roles no longer appear in the exercise-book, but Ulanova continues to make entries in it, not forgetting to note every five years the day of her graduation performance, from which she calculates the number of years worked in theatre:
16 May. 1978.50 years of work in theatre.
8th january 1980. Birthday — I am 70 !!!
I was awarded e second gold medal and Order of Lenin.
At the theatre, in the evening, there was a performance of Nutcracker (Maximova, Vasiliev).
The exercise-book becomes a personal diary in which the ballerina wrote down everything she wanted to remember, her thoughts…
Evelyn Cournand (stage name Anna Galina) decided to make a gift to Ulanova of a collection of works of Russian art of the early 20th century, collected by herself and her teacher T.K Pionkova. Ulanova refused the gift and persuaded Cournand that this unique collection devoted to Russian ballet should be presented to the state.
1981 Paris, 16 November. Evening at the Pleyel Concert Hall organized by UNESCO to celebrate Russian Ballet and my 70th birthday (in retrospect). Vasiliev insisted that for 40-45 minutes I should give lessons, as it were, rehearsals now a memory of the past. Vasiliev, the young Fadeyechev, Valera Anisimov, Timofeyeva, Maximova, Semenyaka, Semizorova. That made up the first act. Before the evening started, a Comédie française actor introduced Chauviré, Béjart, Vyrubova who gave addresses …in 3 exhibition rooms at the Tretyakov Gallery, this collection of works by Goncharova, Larionov, Bakst, Benois, Sudbinin, Yakovlev and many more who had been forced to leave Russia, was put on view. The first large-scale exhibition of these works at the Tretyakov.
Maurice Béjart spoke as follows: «Galina Ulanova is a ballerina who grasped the profound secrets of art, she united together into a single, indissoluble whole feeling and its outer expression›, UNESCO summed up: «We saw the enigma of the century. Can it be? A meeting with a great ballerina who made her entrance on stage, after an absence of twenty years, filled the hall with the same thrill, delight and reverence, as twenty years ago. Yes, it can».
All those participating in the performance in her honor at the Pleyel Concert Hall were her pupils.
1st December. Galina Ulanova is presented with the French Government award Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Letters de France.
From 1961 to 1997, Galina Sergeyevna Ulanova was ballet- mistress-répétiteur at the Bolshoi Theatre where, to this day, her former pupils dance.
«A lot of books have been written about Ulanova, in different languages, in different countries. She is referred to as great, a genius, inimitable, unique. She is compared to Raphael’s Madonna to Botticelli’s Spring, to the verse of Blok. Contributing to Ulanova’s gift were circumstance, the age, people. Ulanova is not a phenomenon who appeared out of the blue. Her talent stems from the depths of our Russian culture, our people, and was given birth by a harsh and fine century.» Tatiana Mikhailovna Vecheslova.
On 21 March 1998, Galina Ulanova passed away. She is buried in Moscow, in the Novodevichy Cemetery.