At her 1841 debut at Milan’s La Scala, Maria Taglioni (Stockholm, 1804-Marseilles, 1884) was thirty-seven years old and already a celebrity in the world of dance.
The daughter of choreographer Filippo Taglioni, she had been raised to love dance at the cost of impressive sacrifices, all to become a great ballerina. Maria had already triumphed at the Opéra in Paris, in one of her father’s works, “La Sylphide”, in 1832.
According to Giuseppe Barigazzi (“La Scala racconta”, Hoepli, Milan 2014), “Maria Taglioni arrived in Milan after a tour that had touched Saint Petersburg, Warsaw, and Vienna. Her success was extraordinary everywhere she went. In Warsaw, she hid from the crowd’s overwhelming enthusiasm in her hotel. In Milan she stayed at the Marino hotel, and after six days performed at La Scala in ‘La Gitana’, a ballet her father had created for her, in which she interpreted Bohemian and Spanish dances. After that she continued with ‘La Sylphide’, reaping such great success that one night La Scala’s orchestra moved to the street in front of the hotel Marino, to serenade the divine ballerina. Medals were coined for the occasion, and sold out in record time […] The police was busy keeping the public’s passion within reasonable limits.”
One of the craters on Venus has since been named after Maria Taglioni: the light of this étoile continues to shine.