Helena Modjeska

(redirected from Helena Modrzejewska)
Helena Modjeska
Jadwiga Benda (baptized Helena Opid)
BirthplaceFree City of Kraków

Modjeska, Helena


(also H. Modrzejewska). Born Oct. 12, 1840, in Kraków; died Apr. 8, 1909, in Newport, Calif. Polish actress.

Modjeska was educated in a convent. After taking private acting lessons, she performed in the Kraków Theater from 1865 to 1869 and in the Wielki and Rozmaitosci theaters in Warsaw between 1869 and 1876. She toured Great Britain and the United States. Her acting style combined realistic character portrayal with romantic inspiration. Her great tragic parts were the title roles in Słowacki’s Maria Stuart and Racine’s Phèdre and Amalia in Schiller’s The Robbers. She was universally acclaimed for her Shakespearean roles, Lady Anne in Richard III and Lady Macbeth. Her poetic and realistic portrayals made Modjeska one of the best performers of S. Wyspiański’s plays.


Wspomnienia i wrazenia. Kraków, 1957.
Korespondencja, vols. 1–2. Warsaw, 1965. (K. Chlapowski.)


Got, J., and J. Szczublewski. Helena Modrzejewska. Warsaw, 1958.
Terlecki, T. Pani Helena. Lublin, 1962.
References in periodicals archive ?
La historia esta inspirada en la emigracion a Estados Unidos en 1876 de Helena Modrzejewska, la actriz polaca mas celebre del momento, en compania de su marido, el conde Karol Chapowski, Rudolf, su hijo, el futuro autor de Quo Vadis?
In a note on the copyright page, Sontag explains that her novel was inspired by the career of Helena Modrzejewska, Poland's renowned actress, who did indeed emigrate to America in 1876 and settle in Anaheim with her husband Count Karol Chapowski; Rudolf, their fifteen-year-old son; Henryk Sienkiewicz, the future Nobel-Prize-winning writer; and a group of friends.
And now she's done it again: a nineteenth-century tale based on the true story of Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska, who emigrated to a farming commune in Anaheim, California, in 1876 and subsequently became a darling of the American stage.