Interview with Maria Karnilova, 1976-1977

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Interview with Maria Karnilova, 1976-1977
Karnilova, Maria (Interviewee)
Terry, Walter (Interviewer)

Dance Oral History Project

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1976-06-17
Date Created: 1977-06-16
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZTO 5-427
Mordkin, Mikhail, 1881-1944
Fokine, Michel, 1880-1942
Bock, Jerry. Fiddler on the roof
Dolin, Anton, 1904-1983
Karnilova, Maria -- Interviews
Kander, John. Zorbá (Musical)
American Ballet Theatre
Metropolitan Opera (New York, N.Y.). Ballet
Oral histories
Additional physical form: For transcript of interview, see *MGZMT 5-427.
Source characteristics: Sound quality is good overall. The recording is marred at times by "tape hiss".
Bibliographic history: Title supplied by cataloger.
Venue: Recorded byWalter Terry June 17, 1976 and June 16, 1977 New York (N.Y.)
Funding: The processing and cataloging of this recording was made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The support of the National Endowment for the Arts is also gratefully acknowledged.
Physical Description
Audiotape reel
Extent: 1 audiotape reel (approximately 3 hr.) ; polyester; half-track; 1.875 ips; 5 in.
Streaming audio file 1, June 17, 1976 (approximately 52 minutes). Maria Karnilova speaks with Walter Terry about differences (in their early days) between Ballet Theatre (later American Ballet Theatre) and New York City Ballet; Karnilova's training at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet including her memories of Rosina Galli; her family background; her family's internment in the (former) Soviet Union and later escape, in the 1920s; the circumstances of how she came to study at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet school; touring with Victor Dandré's opera company; dancing for Mikhail Mordkin and for Michel Fokine; her life at the time, making do on very little; her memories of Mordkin, Fokine, and Vera Fokina; her brief experience dancing on the vaudeville circuit; dancing in the musical, Stars in your eyes including an anecdote about Alicia Alonso teaching her how to time-step; the beginnings of Ballet Theatre including the gradual ousting of Mordkin; some of the early company members; Fokine's control of casting; Anton Dolin and Antony Tudor including how they differed in their teaching methods [ends abruptly but continues directly on streaming audio file 2]. Streaming audio file 2 (approximately 42 minutes). Maria Karnilova speaks with Walter Terry about Antony Tudor as a teacher; her brief experience with American Ballet Caravan and working with George Balanchine; the reasons she left and rejoined Ballet Theatre; working with Anton Dolin; Tudor's psychological approach as for example her role in Tudor's Lilac garden [Jardin aux lilas]; the mentoring she received from her teachers and the choreographers she worked with; Agnes de Mille; ballerinas she admired including Alexandra Danilova; her single season with Jerome Robbins' company Ballets: U.S.A., including Robbins' perfectionism; Lucia Chase including her love of the novel and the exotic; various dancers in Ballet Theatre including some of her partners; reasons Dolin was such a good partner; her memories of Erik Bruhn; her admiration for Mikhail Baryshnikov. Streaming audio file 3, July 16, 1977 (approximately 52 minutes). Maria Karnilova speaks with Walter Terry about her career in musicals including how she came to be cast in the musical revue Call me Mister; her continuing to appear as a guest artist with Ballet Theatre, most frequently in [Frederick Ashton's] The judgment of Paris; her roles in Miss Liberty and Out of this world; her work as an understudy in a production of Ulysses; her role in the musical Gypsy as a milestone in her transition to acting; her role as Dolly Levi in a regional production of the play The matchmaker; dancing in Two's company; Jerome Robbins' talent for portraying young love; her return to dancing at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet; her memories of Kirsten Flagstad; her impressions of Rudolf Bing; Donald Saddler and his role in bringing her back to dancing, in his ballet Winesburg, Ohio; the musical Bravo, Giovanni and the choreographer Carol Haney [ends abruptly but continues on streaming audio file 4]. Streaming audio file 4 (approximately 33 minutes). Maria Karnilova speaks with Walter Terry about her experience in Bravo, Giovanni, including Walter Kerr's negative review of her performance; her experience playing Golde in Fiddler on the roof'; Zorbá and her role of Madame Hortense; her role of Mamita in Gigi,
Type of Resource
Sound recording
RLIN/OCLC: 37283367
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12118277
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 39ec9260-e437-0135-1512-21e19286bb2c
Rights Statement
The copyright and related rights status of this item has been reviewed by The New York Public Library, but we were unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the item. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.

Item timeline of events

  • 1976: Created (Approximate)
  • 2019: Digitized
  • 2023: Found by you!
  • 2024

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Maria Karnilova, 1976-1977" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1976 - 1977.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Maria Karnilova, 1976-1977" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed September 30, 2023.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (1976 - 1977). Interview with Maria Karnilova, 1976-1977 Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (sound recording) Interview with Maria Karnilova, 1976-1977, (1976 - 1977)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=September 30, 2023 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Maria Karnilova, 1976-1977