Vasily Kachalov

Last updated
Kachalov (1910) Kachalov V I 1910x.jpg
Kachalov (1910)

Vasily Ivanovich Kachalov (Russian : Василий Иванович Качалов, Vasilij Ivanovič Kačalov; 11 February [ O.S. 30 January] 1875 – 30 September 1948), PAU, was one of Russia's most renowned actors. He worked closely and often with Konstantin Stanislavski. He led the so-called Kachalov Group within the Moscow Art Theatre. It was Kachalov who played Hamlet in the Symbolist production of 1911.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although, nowadays, nearly three decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia, the rise of state-specific varieties of this language tends to be strongly denied in Russia, in line with the Russian World ideology.

Old Style and New Style dates 16th-century changes in calendar conventions

Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first was to change the start of the year from Lady Day to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar. Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.

Peoples Artist of the USSR award

People's Artist of the USSR, also sometimes translated as National Artist of the USSR, was an honorary title granted to artists of the Soviet Union.

His father was Ivan Shverubovich, a Belarusian Orthodox priest from Vilnius. His schoolmates at the local college included Felix Dzerzhinsky and Konstantinas Galkauskas. In 1896, he left the law department of Saint Petersburg University in order to pursue an acting career. After four years of touring the Russian provinces and a brief stint at the Suvorin Theatre, Kachalov made his debut at the Moscow Art Theatre as Tsar Berendey in The Snow Maiden (spring 1900).

Belarus country in Eastern Europe

Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus, formerly known by its Russian name Byelorussia or Belorussia, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested. Its major economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing. Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire.

Vilnius City in Lithuania

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and its largest city, with a population of 574,147 as of 2018. Vilnius is in the southeast part of Lithuania and is the second largest city in the Baltic states. Vilnius is the seat of the main government institutions of Lithuania and the Vilnius District Municipality. Vilnius is classified as a Gamma global city according to GaWC studies, and is known for the architecture in its Old Town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Before World War II, Vilnius was one of the largest Jewish centres in Europe. Its Jewish influence has led to it being described as the "Jerusalem of Lithuania" and Napoleon named it "the Jerusalem of the North" as he was passing through in 1812. In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture, together with the Austrian city of Linz.

Felix Dzerzhinsky Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet politician

Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, nicknamed Iron Felix, was a Bolshevik revolutionary and official. Born to ethnic Polish parents, from 1917 until his death in 1926 Dzerzhinsky led the first two Soviet state security organizations, the Cheka and the OGPU, establishing a secret police for the post-revolutionary Soviet government. He was one of the architects of the mass killings of hundreds of thousands of people during the Red Terror and Decossackization.

The snow maiden was played by Stanislavski's wife, Maria Lilina, who fell in love with Kachalov; she described their affair as "a touch of private happiness". [1] Another of his lovers was Alisa Koonen. [1] He met his wife, actress Nina Litovtseva, when they were acting in the Kazan Drama Theatre, one of Russia's oldest.

Maria Lilina

Maria Petrovna Alexeyeva was a Russian stage actress, associated with the Moscow Art Theatre, better known under her stage name Lilina (Лилина). Konstantin Stanislavski, the MAT director, was her husband. In 1933 Lilina was designated as a Meritorious Artist of RSFSR.

Alisa Koonen Russian actress

Alisa Georgyevna Koonen, also known as Alice Coonen, was a Russian and Soviet actress and the wife of the director Alexander Tairov.

Nina Litovtseva Russian actor and theatre director (1878-1956)

Nina Nikolayevna Levestam was a Russian and Soviet stage and film actress, associated with Moscow Art Theatre, known under her stage name Litovtseva. Actor Vasily Kachalov was her husband.

Kachalov was greatly admired for his "magnetic" voice. He played Baron Tuzenbach after Meyerhold's departure from the theatre. In the original 1904 production of The Cherry Orchard he appeared as Trofimov. He starred in Nemirovich-Danchenko's production of Ivanov later that year. All in all, he took more than 50 roles in Stanislavski's company.

<i>Three Sisters</i> (play) play by Anton Chekhov

Three Sisters is a play by the Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov. It was written in 1900 and first performed in 1901 at the Moscow Art Theatre. The play is sometimes included on the short list of Chekhov's outstanding plays, along with The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull and Uncle Vanya.

Vsevolod Meyerhold Russian theatre director

Vsevolod Emilevich Meyerhold was a Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatrical producer. His provocative experiments dealing with physical being and symbolism in an unconventional theatre setting made him one of the seminal forces in modern international theatre. During the Great Purge, Meyerhold was arrested, tortured and executed in February 1940.

<i>The Cherry Orchard</i> Play by Anton Chekhov

The Cherry Orchard is the last play by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. Written in 1903, it was first published by Znaniye, and came out as a separate edition later that year in Saint Petersburg, via A.F. Marks Publishers. It opened at the Moscow Art Theatre on 17 January 1904 in a production directed by Konstantin Stanislavski. Chekhov described the play as a comedy, with some elements of farce, though Stanislavski treated it as a tragedy. Since its first production, directors have contended with its dual nature. It is often identified as one of the three or four outstanding plays by Chekhov, along with The Seagull, Three Sisters, and Uncle Vanya.

After the Russian Revolution, the Kachalov Group went touring Central Europe and did not return until the summer of 1921, under pressure from the theatre's founders. [2]

Russian Revolution 20th-century revolution leading to the downfall of the Russian monarchy

The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917 which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917. Alongside it arose grassroots community assemblies which contended for authority. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was toppled and all power was given to the Soviets.

Kachalov was named one of the first People's Artists of the USSR after the title was instituted in 1936 and received a Stalin Prize in 1943. He was also the recipient of the two Orders of Lenin. The Kazan State Theatre was given his name in 1948.

Order of Lenin Soviet Union award

The Order of Lenin, named after the leader of the Russian October Revolution, was established by the Central Executive Committee on April 6, 1930. The order was the highest civilian decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union. The order was awarded to:

The Russian director and puppeteer, Sergey Obraztsov, described seeing Kachalov on stage:

“That matchless voice of his sounded different each time. Different too was that amazing process of creating a phrase, and every visual image evoked by the word. One had the impression that Kachalov was not merely speaking but thinking aloud, and that the words one heard were only a part of what he was seeing with his inner eye. For that reason people did not merely listen to Kachalov, they watched what he was talking about.” [3]

Kachalov and Olga Knipper in Hamlet (1911) Kachalov and Knipper in Hamlet 1911.jpg
Kachalov and Olga Knipper in Hamlet (1911)

Notable performances

Related Research Articles

Moscow Art Theatre theatre company

The Moscow Art Theatre is a theatre company in Moscow. It was founded in 1898 by the seminal Russian theatre practitioner Konstantin Stanislavski, together with the playwright and director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. It was conceived as a venue for naturalistic theatre, in contrast to the melodramas that were Russia's dominant form of theatre at the time. The theatre, the first to regularly put on shows implementing Stanislavski's system, proved hugely influential in the acting world and in the development of modern American theatre and drama.

Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko Russian theatre director

Vladimir Ivanovich Nemirovich-Danchenko, PAU, was a Russian and Soviet theatre director, writer, pedagogue, playwright, producer and theatre administrator, who founded the Moscow Art Theatre with his colleague, Konstantin Stanislavski, in 1898.

My Life in Art is the autobiography of the Russian actor and theatre director Konstantin Stanislavski. It was first commissioned while Stanislavski was in the United States on tour with the Moscow Art Theatre, and was first published in Boston, Massachusetts in English in 1924. It was later revised and published in a Russian-language edition in Moscow under the title Моя жизнь в искусстве. It is divided into 4 sections entitled: 1-Artistic Childhood, 2-Artistic Youth, 3-Artistic Adolescence and 4-Artistic Adulthood.

Realism (theatre) movement in 19th-century theatre

Realism in the theatre was a general movement that began in the 19th-century theatre, around the 1870s, and remained present through much of the 20th century. It developed a set of dramatic and theatrical conventions with the aim of bringing a greater fidelity of real life to texts and performances. Part of a broader artistic movement, it includes Naturalism and Socialist realism.

Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre theatre company

The Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre is a music theatre in Moscow.

<i>The Fruits of Enlightenment</i> 1890 play written by Leo Tolstoy

The Fruits of Enlightenment, aka Fruits of Culture is a play by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. It satirizes the persistence of unenlightened attitudes towards the peasants amongst the Russian landed aristocracy. In 1891 Constantin Stanislavski achieved success when he directed the play for his Society of Art and Literature organization.

Moscow Art Theatre production of <i>The Seagull</i>

The Moscow Art Theatre production of The Seagull in 1898, directed by Konstantin Stanislavski and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, was a crucial milestone for the fledgling theatre company that has been described as "one of the greatest events in the history of Russian theatre and one of the greatest new developments in the history of world drama." It was the first production in Moscow of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, though the play had been performed with only moderate success in St. Petersburg two years earlier. Nemirovich, who was a friend of Chekhov's, overcame the writer's refusal to allow the play to appear in Moscow after its earlier lacklustre reception and convinced Stanislavski to direct the play for their innovative and newly founded Moscow Art Theatre (MAT). The production opened on 29 December [O.S. 17 December] 1898. The MAT's success was due to the fidelity of its delicate representation of everyday life, its intimate, ensemble playing, and the resonance of its mood of despondent uncertainty with the psychological disposition of the Russian intelligentsia of the time. To commemorate this historic production, which gave the MAT its sense of identity, the company to this day bears the seagull as its emblem.

Ioasaf Aleksandrovich Tikhomirov (1872-1908) was a Russian actor. He trained under Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, who offered "rigorous and intelligent" courses in actor training at the school of the Moscow Philharmonic Society. Tikhomirov was one of twelve students that Nemirovich brought with him to join the Moscow Art Theatre when he founded it with Constantin Stanislavski in 1898. He acted with the company until 1904 and also served as the director of the Art Theatre School. In 1904 Stanislavski sent Tikhomirov to help Maxim Gorky to establish his newly founded theatre in Nizhny Novgorod, but the project was abandoned when the Russian censor banned every play that they proposed to stage.

Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kobekin is a Russian composer best known for his opera compositions.

Mikhail Yanshin Soviet actor

Mikhail Mikhailovich Yanshin was a Soviet stage and film actor.

Maria Osipovna (Iosifovna) Knebel was a Russian theatre practitioner. Having trained with Konstantin Stanislavski, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, and Michael Chekhov, her work integrated the approaches and emphases of all three, with a particular focus on Stanislavski's technique of "active analysis" in the rehearsal of plays. She worked as a character actor, a theatre director, and a teacher. Her students included the actor Oleg Yefremov, the playwright Victor Rozov, and the directors Anatoly Vasiliev and Adolf Shapiro. In 1958, she was named a People's Artist of the RSFSR.

Vladimir Gribunin Russian actor (1873-1933)

Vladimir Fyodorovich Gribunin, was a Russian and Soviet actor.

Serafim Sudbinin French sculptor and ceramist

Serafim Nikolayevich Sudbinin was a Russian sculptor, painter, ceramicist and stage actor, associated with the Moscow Art Theatre.

Vasily Luzhsky Russian actor and theatre director (1869-1931)

Vasily Vasilyevich Luzhsky was a Russian, Soviet stage actor, theatre director and pedagogue, associated with the Moscow Art Theatre.

The Griboyedov Prize was a Russian literary award established in 1878 by the Society of Russian Dramatists and Opera Composers to honor Alexander Griboyedov. The opening ceremony was held on 11 February, on the anniversary of the great Russian playwright's death. The prize, collected through private donations, was awarded to the best play of the year, produced in Saint Petersburg and Moscow by either Imperial Theatres or their private counterparts. Despite of the fact that the Prize was launched in 1878, it was first awarded in 1883.

Maria Roksanova actor

Maria Lyudomirovna Petrovskaya was a Russian stage actress associated with the Moscow Art Theatre, better known under her stage name Roksanova (Роксанова).

Maria Samarova actor

Maria Alexandrovna Samarova was a Moscow-born Russian and Soviet stage actress and reader in drama, associated with the Moscow Art Theatre.

Maria Germanova actor

Maria Nikolayevna Krasovskaya-Kalitinskaya was a Russian actress, theatre director and reader in drama, better known under her stage name Maria Germanova (Германова).


  1. 1 2 Maria Ignatieva. Stanislavsky and female actors: women in Stanislavsky's life and art. University Press of America, 2008. ISBN   9780761841791. Page 39.
  2. A History of Russian Theatre (eds. Robert Leach, Victor Borovsky). Cambridge University Press, 1999. Page 273.
  3. Obraztsov, Sergei. My Profession. The Minerva Group, Inc. (2001) ISBN   9781589634565 p. 215