Maia Morgenstern studied acting at the Bucharest Academy of Theatre and Film from 1981 to 1985, and after graduating she was an actress at the Youth Theatre, Piatra Neamț, until 1988. She then returned to Bucharest and appeared at the Jewish State Theatre, before joining the acting company of the Ion Luca Caragiale National Theatre. She has also appeared at the Odéon Theatre, the Small Theatre, the Bulandra, the Radu Stanca Theatre, and the Metropolis.
Her outstanding performances have included the rôles of Turandot, in Carlo Gozzi’s Turandot, directed by Cătălina Buzoianu, Medea, in An Ancient Trilogy, based on the works of Euripides and Seneca and directed by Andrei Șerban, Clytemnestra in Sophocles’ Oresteia, directed by Silviu Purcărete, Titania, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Petrică Ionescu, and many more.
She has appeared in numerous Romanian and foreign films, and is one of the few Romanian actresses who has managed to make a name for herself in international cinema. Maia Morgenstern is best known to Romanian audiences for her performances in the feature films The Scales, The Most Beloved of Mortals, and The Passion of Christ.
Since 2010 she has been an ambassador for the Alliance of Cultures in Romania. Since 2012 she has been director of the Jewish State Theatre.
Maia Morgenstern has won numerous prestigious awards: the Nihil Sine Deo Royal Order (Romania, 2013), the Order of Arts and Letters (France, 2012), the Prize for Best Actress at the Emma Festival (London, 2004), for her rôle as Mary in The Passion of Christ, the UNITER Prize for Best Actress (1993) for her rôle as Lola in This Evening, Lola Blau, the Felix Prize (European Film Awards), the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival (1993), the Les Stars de Demain prize (Geneva, 1992) and the Critics’ Prize of the Association of Romanian Humourists (1992), for her rôle in the film The Scales, the Bulandra National Prize for Best Actress (1993), for her rôle as Haya in Ghetto, the UCIN Prize for her rôle in Those Who Pay with their Lives (1990), and the UNITER Prize for Best Female Performance (1990), for Medea in The Ancient Trilogy. In February 2004, the European Parliament named her Actress and Woman of the Year 2003.
In 2000, she was decorated with the National Order of Merit for ‘remarkable artistic achievements and for the promotion of culture’, and in 2018, the National Order of Merit to the rank of Grand Officer.
Maia Morgenstern reads poetry by: