Queen of Castanets leaves it all to Latvia

  • 2000-03-02
  • By Vineta Lagzdina
On display at the Museum of Riga's History and Navigation, is a rare and very personal collection donated by the uniquely talented Latvian performer of Spanish flamenco and folk dance, Marta Alberinga.

Dona Marta, 90, has donated a lifetime's art collection that includes paintings, French glass ceiling lights and glassware, furniture, porcelain and faience from the 18th to 20th century.

The exhibition manifests an inner beauty complemented by the authentic Spanish dance costumes, memorabilia and special hats, as well as photographs from a lifetime in the dance world. There's also the poignant "still life" corner with the stunningly but suitably dressed Dona Marta and husband Valfrid: his three great loves in life - Marta, music and art collecting.

The collection is worth well over 100,000 lats ($172,400) and is one of the grandest personal donations made to the museum.

"The donation is a great inheritance and a unique personal gift that shows great generosity of spirit," claimed Mara Lace, director of Latvia's National Museum.

Dona Marta is a national treasure in her own right. The museum staff are working to get her a lifetime support grant. She now lives alone on a meagre pension and because of privatization has to find another home. Though often highly spirited and motivated she has not been well, but rather than sell off her treasures, she wants them kept in Latvia. Her only wish was that the museum install a permanent room for the collection.

The Valmiera Museum also keeps a smaller exhibit donated by Dona Marta a few years ago. Valmiera is her home town.

Museum of Riga's History and Navigation, Palasta 4, (behind the Dome Church). Open daily 11:00 - 17:00, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.