17 July 2014

Margareta Pîslaru

Margareta Pîslaru (1943) was one of the most popular Romanian pop singers of the Communist period. The multitalented artist also works as a composer, lyricist, TV producer, artistic director and she acted in many films. Since 1983, she lives and works in the USA.

Margareta Pislaru
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Margareta Pislaru
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 170. Retail price: 2 Lei.


Margareta Pîslaru or Pâslaru was born in Bucharest, Romania, in 1943. She grew up in an artistic environment and studied piano, ballet, and painting.

Only 4½ years, she played a child's role in the opera Madame Butterfly by Giaccomo Puccini. At the age of 15, she made her singing debut at la Casa de Cultură Grivița Roșie in 1958, accompanied by Paul Ghentzer.

In 1959, she was discovered by Ileana Pop and the following year she performed in the TV show Toată lumea face sport (Everybody sports), dedicated to the Romanian winners at the Olympics in Rome. She was a sensation.

George Grigoriu of Trio Grigoriuis was so impressed with her that he composed Chemarea mării (Call of the Sea) especially for her. The song became an evergreen and Pîslaru would dominate the Romanian music scene for decades.

She performed both pop and folk music, with equal success. Among her classic songs are Timpul (Time), Dacă ai ghici (I you guess), and Diamant fermecat (Diamond Magic).

Although sung in Romanian, the style of her repertoire is very similar to the light pop music of the 1960s as well as to that of singers as Barbra Streisand and Petula Clark. Pislaru collaborated with many first-class musicians, like Radu Goldis.

Pîslaru made her film debut in Fumatul, strict oprit!/Smoking strictly forbidden! (Valerio Lazarov, 1963) starring Mircea Crisan.

In 1964 theatre director Liviu Ciulei asked her for the role of Polly Peachum in the play The Three Penny Opera by Bertold Brecht. Her performance - full of aplomb and humour - was a revelation and the play ran for four hundred performances.

In 1966 she was chosen for the role of Julia in the Romanian-Soviet film Tunelul/The Tunnel (Francisc Munteanu, 1966) with Ion Dichiseanu and Florin Piersic. For this role she won an award at the Golden Pelican Festival 1966.

As a result, she was offered several more film parts. Director Lucian Bratu gave her the lead role in Un film cu o fata fermecatoare/A charming girl (1967) with Stefan Iordache, and she sang a song in the musical comedy Impuscaturi pe portative/Shooting on portable (Cezar Grigoriu, 1968) with Nancy Holloway.

Margareta Pislaru
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 2727, 1966. Photo: publicity still for Tunelul/The Tunnel (Francisc Munteanu, 1966).

Margareta Pislaru, Ion Dichiseanu
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 2728, 1966. Photo: publicity still for Tunelul/The Tunnel (Francisc Munteanu, 1966) with Ion Dichiseanu.

Magic Bag

Margareta Pîslaru’s most memorable film is Veronica (Elisabetei Bostan, 1973) with Lulu Mihaescu and singer Angela Moldovan. In this fresh and candid children’s film, Pîslaru played a fairy godmother, who gives a present to the girl Veronica in a foster home. It is a magic bag that will fulfil any desire. Veronica refuses to share this gift with other children and for this she is punished. From then on she has very exciting dream adventures.

Pîslaru returned in the sequel Veronica se intoarce/Veronica Returns (Elisabetei Bostan, 1974). Other film successes were Gloria nu cântă /Gloria sings (Alexandru Bocanet, 1976) with Thomas Caragiu, and Melodii, melodii/Songs, Song (Francisc Munteanu, 1978) with Jean Constantin and Marga Barbu.

Margareta Pîslaru was married to Gheorghe (Gyuri) Sencovici until his death in 2008. They have a daughter, Ana Maria, and a grandson, Luca. Since 1983, the family lived and worked in the United States.

In the 1990s, she did a lot of humanitarian work. She is a honorary member for Unicef, Unesco and the Romanian Red Cross. For her work she was honoured with many awards.

Since 2013 she is a Cavalier of The Crown of Romania Order. On the soundtrack of the prize-winning Romanian film Moartea domnului Lazarescu/The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, 2005), two of her songs can be heard Cum e oare (Telling It Like It Really Is) and Chemarea marii (The Waves of the Ocean). Margareta Pîslaru spends her time nowadays between Manhattan and Bucharest.

Margareta Pislaru
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Margareta Pislaru
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Sources: CinemaRx (Romanian), Wikipedia (Romanian and English) and IMDb.

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