A disease took away the young artist life and his art
Again, a few months of silence. I’ve heard about a couple of performances, but I have no confirmation about. Finally he performed in the US with his most common partner, the San Carlo Opera Company: Otello in the Manhattan Opera House in New York on September 22nd and in the Century Theater; Rigoletto on October 5th announced as the “guest star” and Otello again on the 9th. Reviews are again excellent and nothing shows that Ballester might be sick or with some sort of issue.
On October 26th 1926 he arrived in Valencia by train, from Barcelona. His arrival was preceded by a great deal of highlights and photos in Valencia’s newspapers. It was described as the prodigal son arrival. He was supposed to perform twice in the Teatro Principal with Juanita Fabra and Matilde Revenga. Reviews of the first performance were quite ambiguous. Something was wrong with the layout of the performance and it seemed like it didn’t make everybody happy. Memories from his relatives say that Vicent didn’t do a great performance. It must have been due to health reasons and he never made the second performance. Family also remembers that he came with Jeanne (or Juanita), his partner after his breakup with his wife. I have a couple of pictures of her. But they couldn’t tell me more. I would really like to know more about her and about her whereabouts after my grandfather’s death. Vicent’s health condition got worse. No newspapers show information neither about his sickness nor about his later death on October 3rd 1927 (except for the usual obituary), when he was 40 years old. The great praise offered upon his arrival was followed by an absolute silence.
The special situation with my grandmother and her death a year and a half later, with their sons being teenagers, made them not very talkative about this topic. It’s a pity that the story of this great singer hasn’t been properly transmitted and kept alive, as it would have been deserved.
Valencia, October 1926,
Vicent Ballester with his mother
Place and date unknown
Portrait of Jeanne