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© DR

As a place of creativity, the Principality has had a strong attraction for artists for many decades.

Since the 19th century, Monaco has promoted, for example, avant-garde theatre, ballet and the symphony orchestra. Monaco is thus known for hosting the Ballets Russes; Diaghilev and his company took up residence at the Monte-Carlo Opera, encouraging the development of talent and the creation of original choreographic works.

Nijinsky, an iconic figure of this Company, marked the history of modern dance with “L’après-midi d’un faune” (“The Afternoon of a Faun”) and “Le sacre du Printemps” (“The Rite of Spring”). His sister Nijinska, who trained at the Imperial School of Ballet in St. Petersburg, staged the first performance of Ravel’s “Bolero” in 1928.

For “Le Train bleu” (“The Blue Train,”) presented in 1924, Nijinska collaborated with Jean Cocteau, Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso, who created the stage curtain. Another famous dancer and choreographer from the Ballets Russes was George Balanchine, who worked in association with Stravinsky.

© DR
© DR

The life of Josephine Baker was also linked to the Principality. Princess Grace helped this legendary music hall artist, who, as early as the 1920s, appeared in the “Revue nègre” in a short skirt adorned with bananas.

A few years later, when the bankrupt star could no longer finance the education of her 12 adopted children, Princess Grace offered her a home for life in the Principality and put her back in the limelight on the occasion of the inauguration of the Sporting Summer Festival in 1974. Joséphine Baker died in 1975 at the age of 69 and is buried in Monaco cemetery.

Countless 20th-century painters stopped off on the French Riviera, attracted by the light and palette of colours that the region offers. Francis Bacon thus lived in Monaco from 1946 to 1950, and returned regularly until the end of his life.

It was in the Principality that he painted his first “Pope,” inspired mainly by the “Portrait of Pope Innocent X” by Velasquez, and began his work on the human form. Since 2014, the Principality has been home to the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation, the only foundation devoted to the British painter. The Foundation was created by Majid Boustany.

© John Edwards
© Direction de la Communication / Manuel Vitali

Another painter who lived in Monaco was Jean-Michel Folon. Folon was a multifaceted artist who worked in many different media, from watercolour to engraving, painting and sculpture.

The Principality was Jean-Michel Folon’s last home; his studio was situated on the Quai Antoine-1er in Port Hercule. It has been transformed into a museum and workshop and is now open to the public.

As for opera, Ruggero Raimondi also settled in Monaco. The bass baritone, who played Don Giovanni in a production by Joseph Losey, became a Monegasque national under the reign of H.S.H. Prince Albert II.

Maxim Vengerov, who is considered one of the greatest living musicians, has lived in Monaco with his family for several years. The violinist was born in 1974 in Novosibirsk, Siberia. He has performed in the world’s greatest concert halls with the most prestigious conductors and the best orchestras, and has received many awards. He was the first classical musician to be appointed UNICEF’s Envoy for Music, with the aim of helping children throughout the world.

Monaco was also the home of the Monegasque songwriter, composer, singer and poet Léo Ferré, as well as the famous actor Roger Moore, known in particular for his role as James Bond.


© Palais Princier de Monaco
© Direction de la Communication

“Let us remember that it is not necessary to be a big country to have big dreams, nor to have a large population to make them come true” …

Caroline, Princess of Hanover in Politique Internationale.

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