||Maria Dolores Eliza
|"Montez, the Toreador"
||(aka: Marie Gilbert)
|"Ballerine of La Scala"
||"Countess of Landsfeldt"
|"La Grande Horizontale"
Lola Montez (AKA:
montes) daughter of British and Irish parents, was named the
'Ballerine of La Scala' and 'Montez, the Toreador'. She was actually
the 'Countess of Landsfieldt' and was also known as Marie Gilbert
who transformed or some say masqueraded herself into an aristocratic
Irish and Spanish dancer who became the mistress of Ludwig
I of Bavaria (who held much political power until he abdicated,)
Dumas and Liszt. Of her three marriages (some say five,)
only the first, to Lieutenant Thomas James, was legal, since it
was not dissolved in her lifetime.
She is one of the characters
in Leonide Massine's ballet "Bacchanale"
in 1939. Edward Caton staged 'Lola Montez,' a ballet
based on her life for ballet America in 1946. Lola was a skilled
dancer who danced many of the Spanish dances such as the Bolero
'El Olano' (aka: 'El Oleano') was a danced created for or by her
in 1843. It was a mixture of the Cachucha,
Bolero, and Tarantella.
Some of her notoriety came from her “Spider
Dance” routine in which she pretended to get spiders
off her skirt by raising it high so the audience could see her
at the end, sqaushing
the spider on the stage, very scandalous for the time. Even the
critics were enthralled by it … well, in the beginning that
is. But it was not artistic merit that her audiences sought; it
was to became a glimpse of the scandalous beauty only. Soon the
crowds realized that Lola's act was mediocre. One rival began
a comic caricature of her gyrations, and Lola became a target
of ridicule. Audiences began to laugh at and heckle her performances
on stage. She would have a hard time after this point.
Lola however was praised
many times for her dancing as well as criticized, mostly for faking
her Spanish decent, smoking cigarettes, (which was even scandulous
in the 1920's,) her romances, etc.. However, she would prove
to be a notorious liar about her past and her training which led
to many poor reviews of her work, but many of the rumors were
actually started by Lola herself. She was as well-known for conquering
the hearts of her lovers, including then 60 year old King Ludwig
I of Bavaria (who also banished her), Alexandre Dumas and
Franz Liszt as she was for her dancing.
There were many articles
written on her hot-headed temper, the fatal duels held over her,
her whip carrying and the use of it (It was accurately reported
that she had horsewhipped the local Nevada newspaper editor for
his disparaging remarks,) and even with police officials
who almost had her thrown in jail and was escorted out of many
countries she was in on a many occasions, even banished from Poland
by Governor Paskevitch and ousted by Bavarian Prince Metternich,
plus others. She seems to have wanted to gain political influence
that wasn't shared by others.
With a monstrously egocentric
and manipulative spirt, she had a talent for self-promotion which
made her world famous. As one writer nicely put it "she had
a personality of vivid and alluring interest." The song "Whatever
Lola Wants" was even scribed after her. She sounds abit as
a dominatrix of her time. Her character and or fiery personality
has been portrayed in various films by Carmen D'Antonio in Golden
Girl (1951), Sheila Darcy in Wells Fargo (1937), Yvonne De Carlo
in Black Bart (1948), and Rita Moreno in an episode of the 1950s
TV show Tales of Wells Fargo.
Lola was not as cruel
and self centered as alot of the reports made her out to be, less
well known with the gossiping public were her secretive acts of
charity. Montez helped the town's needy, carried food and medicine
to injured miners, sat up all night with sick children, and confidentially
endeared herself to many during her lifetime. She
even gave singing and dance lessons to local children such as
Lotta Crabtree at six years of age at
her home in Grass Valley, Ca. Lola prophetically remarked
that "history would remember Lola Montez as notorious, but
would call Lotta Crabtree famous."
and Andre were Spanish
dancers, who shared the same name. She died at age 39 from complications