Monday, October 2, 2023
One of the most celebrated and acclaimed composers of the 20th century, Leonard Bernstein was a larger than life figure. Best known for composing the Broadway musical West Side Story, Bernstein was one of the first American-born conductors to receive global fame and lead world-class orchestras.
His wife, Felicia Montealegre, was less prominent but was an impressive artist in her own right. A successful actor who performed on Broadway and television, she also played piano, sang, and was an amateur painter and sculptor. Bernstein and Montealegre were a power couple in the public eye, and she was a source of strength and inspiration for her husband.
But their relationship was not an easy one. Bernstein had affairs with both women and men throughout his life, as Montealegre well knew. They broke off their engagement once before marrying, and Bernstein left her for a man at one point in their marriage, after which Montealegre angrily declared that Bernstein was “going to die a bitter and lonely old man.”
Their love, marriage, estrangement, and ultimate reconciliation is the subject of the upcoming biopic Maestro, which features Bradley Cooper as Bernstein and Carey Mulligan as Montealegre. Directed by Cooper, the movie premieres at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday before releasing in theaters on November 22. Here is the true story of the romance at the heart of Maestro.
Read more here.