Bogdanoff twins and their incredible family: the black tenor, his lover aristocrat and the king's cousin

"Bring me a queen," said Fannie to his son Roland. "If you marry a white girl, kid, be a queen, but, look for one of your race," he repeated the matriarch

Bogdanoff twins and their incredible family: the black tenor, his lover aristocrat and the king's cousin

"Bring me a queen," said Fannie to his son Roland. "If you marry a white girl, kid, be a queen, but, look for one of your race," he repeated the matriarch to the seven children of her. Roland was the hope of the family. His voice and the talent of him for music were the key he could take them out of misery in which the blacks lived in the southern United States and he achieved it. Roland Hayes managed to tear down barriers and become a tenor and successful composer despite being black.

His biography, worthy of a DocuSerie, has dusted himself as a result of the death of Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff, the extravagant anti-antivacuna French scientists who have died last week because of the Covid. Hayes was her grandfather. The Countess Bertha Katharina Colloredo-Mansfeld, the grandmother of her. She was not a queen, but a European aristocrat. Roland had a daughter with the countess, although they did not get married because she was already married, for Fannie's disgust.

The Tabarabuelos of the Bogdanoff were slaves. His grandparents had been born in a cotton hacienda of Georgia and raised his effort on land that the employer leased them. The kids barely received elementary studios but the little Roland was very awake and the father of him, William, detected that he had a privileged ear. The kid, who sang in the church, heard a recording of Enrique Caruso and discovered the European lyric, Donizetti and Verdi, and decided that he wanted to be tenor, like Italian. Black, poor and victim of the ruthless racism of the time, did not have it easy, but with 18 years he managed to access music studies at the Fisk de Nashville University despite the opposition of his mother, who believed he was wasting his money because he was I thought the blacks could not make a living singing.

But Roland did it in French, Italian, German and Russian and ended up conquering European scenarios, where he came to act before King Jorge V and Queen Mary of England. In one of those tours, in 1923, he met Bertha Katharina Nadine Kolowrat-Krakowsky, a young aristocrat who was married to Hieronymus von Colloredo-Mansfeld, a German nobleman who had been 20 years old and with whom he had had four children.

Bertha wanted to meet the famous African American tenor and stood in the hotel room in Prague on which he stayed. He left the bath when he met the beautiful and majestic countess in the middle of the stay. "Oh, forgiveness, she was finishing dress up," she hit her to say. The meeting is collected by Christopher A. Brooks in Roland Hayes, The Legacy of An American Tenor. "The Countess Hoyos [aristocrat of Spanish origin] has been kind enough to make this meeting possible, my friends and I love meeting the artists who visit us, helps us to enter their art," Bertha answered before the perplexed Hayes .

After this meeting, the Countess and the tenor initiated an intense, turbulent and secret relationship that lasted 45 years. Hayes wrote him passionate love letters and became Bertha in the muse and inspiration from her. Months after meeting in Prague, the tenor and the countess were seen again. They did it in Spain, where they consummated their relationship and she became pregnant.

The scandal was going to be monumental. It was uninhable that a European aristocrat, married and mother, was going to have a child with her lover, who was black. Hayes' career, who was already a famous tenor, would also go to the fret if the relationship came to light, with which it had cost him to be recognized in the world of Lyric.

In 1925 Bertha informed her husband that she was pregnant with her lover. To avoid the scandal of it the count built a Château in the south of France, well away from her, in a town near the Pyrenees. They never divorced and continued to appear together from time to time, but Bertha had to give up the four older children of her and access to the palatial residences of her in Berlin and Prague. She also lost her reputation in the European High Society, who repudiated her.


The Countess gave birth to a girl, who called María Dolores, a Spanish name chosen maybe in honor of the country where she was conceived. Maya, as she called her all over the world, she came into the world on February 12, 1926 at a private clinic of Basel, Switzerland. She took her maternal surnames from her, Kolowrat-Krakowsky, although she wanted to adopt her and take her to the United States, but the Countess refused.

Bertha crio to Maya in its castle in southern France. She tried to maintain the relationship with Hayes and took the girl to her father's concerts when she acted in Paris, but the tenor ended up marrying her raw, a girl from her race, as her mother advised her. With it he had another daughter whom he called Afrika, who followed her footsteps in the world of music.

Meanwhile, Maya was growing up with her mother, apart from her four older brothers, and she ended up marrying Yuri Mikhailovich Ostasenko-Bogdanoff, a Russian painter of noble origin. They had six children, including the famous twins Igor and Grichka, born in 1949. The children came to meet their grandfather, gathered with him on one occasion, when they were 5 years old, but they did not see him again. Instead they had a close relationship with Grandma Bertha, who raises them and awakened in them the intellectual curiosity of it. The library of her was the favorite place of the twins.

Before becoming controversial celebrities in France thanks to television and its aesthetic operations, who always denied having done, the Bodganoff brothers developed important careers. Grishka was a doctorate in mathematics and Igor in theoretical physics at the University of Burgundy. The thesis and publications of it, however, have been rejected and challenged by the vast majority of the scientific community.

Its popularity shot in the 80s with the Temps X program, where, dressed in astronaut costumes, talked about science and science fiction, issues that derived later towards controversial theories about extraterrestrials.

Grishka did not get married or had children, but his inseparable brother did it three times and had six children. With the first, the actress Geneviève Grad, he had a metro, Dimitri. With the second, the Countess Ludmilla d'Oultremont, he had three other stems: Sacha, Anna-Claria and Wenceslas.

His last woman was Amalia de Borbón-Parma (44), daughter of Miguel de Borbón-Parma and distant premium of King Felipe VI. They married in 2009 in a fabulous ceremony at the Chambord Palace, in the Loire, after ten years of relationship and two children in common, Alexander and Constantine. They separated in 2016 although they continued maintaining a good relationship. Amelia, almost 20 years younger than Igor, always fascinated her extravagance, culture and mystery that surround her husband and her brother-in-law, even though they ended up looking like the science fiction characters who liked so much. "They were unique and timeless beings," she has declared her these days, after the death of both, at 72.

Updated Date: 08 January 2022, 00:46

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