”Viulun Sarah Bernhardt” – ruhtinatar Lilly Dolgoruki (1850–1897), kansallinen julkisuuskuva ja kansainväliset varieteeverkostot


  • Nuppu Koivisto


The aim of this article is to discover and analyze the life and career of a little-known 19th-century violinist – Juliette Delépierre a. k. a. princess Lilly Dolgorouky (1850–1897) – from a transnationalist point of view. Since Dolgorouky toured globally and worked in the variety world, her story has remained unknown to music historians thus far. However, Dolgorouky’s aggressive, nationally-oriented marketing strategies on the one hand, and her cosmopolitan contacts on the other, serve to demonstrate the complex interplay of the national and the international within the show business culture of the era.

In addition to uncovering certain key facts and events of her biography by examining previously unstudied archival and newspaper material, this article examines Dolgorouky’s professional activities on two levels. First, attention is paid to the way she rebranded herself as a Russian princess during her mid-career in the often exoticist context of variety show culture. Secondly, Dolgorouky’s performances and reception in Finland are put into perspective by comparing them to the broader, European and American accounts on her career.

The case of Lilly Dolgorouky supports two key arguments in transnational popular music and variety show historiography. First of all, her careful construction of a "Russian" stage persona suggests not only the heated competition for contracts between variety performers but also the usefulness of such a strategy, even if the audience did not always find this make-believe character plausible. Interestingly, Dolgorouky’s famous title sometimes even got her entangled in political and diplomatic questions. The evident cosmopolitanism of her everyday touring life, in turn, exemplifies the international networks within which most variety performers worked during the late 19th century. Furthermore, these cosmopolitan elements extended even to the heated public discussion on the moral meanings of music and variety shows, which Dolgorouky’s reception in the press vividly elucidates.






Koivisto, N. (2020). ”Viulun Sarah Bernhardt” – ruhtinatar Lilly Dolgoruki (1850–1897), kansallinen julkisuuskuva ja kansainväliset varieteeverkostot. Musiikki, 47(1-2), 11–40. Noudettu osoitteesta https://musiikki.journal.fi/article/view/97125