|Born||Yuri Petrovich Lyubimov
30 September 1917
Yaroslavl, Russian Republic
|Died||5 October 2014
|Cause of death||Heart failure|
|Occupation||Stage actor, theatre director|
|Spouse(s)||Katalin Lyubimova (1978-2014)|
Yuri Petrovich Lyubimov (Russian: Ю́рий Петро́вич Люби́мов; 30 September [O.S. 17 September] 1917 – 5 October 2014) was a Soviet and Russian stage actor and director associated with the internationally renowned Taganka Theatre, which he founded in 1964. He was one of the leading names in the Russian theatre world.
Yuri Lyubimov was born in Yaroslavl in 1917. His grandfather was a kulak who fled to Moscow to escape arrest during the collectivisation. Lyubimov's father, Pyotr Zakharovich, was a merchant, who worked for a Scottish company, and his mother, Anna Alexandrovna, was a half-Russian and half-Gypsy schoolteacher. They moved to Moscow in 1922, where both were arrested. Lyubimov studied at the Institute for Energy in Moscow.
He was a member of Mikhail Chekhov's Second Moscow Art Theater from 1934 to 1936. During the 1930s, he also met Vsevolod Meyerhold, the avant-garde director. Lyubimov worked in the Song and Dance Ensemble of the NKVD, where he met and befriended Dmitri Shostakovich, Nikolai Erdman and many others.
After service in the Soviet Army during the World War II, Lyubimov joined the Vakhtangov Theatre (founded by Yevgeny Vakhtangov). In 1953, he received the USSR State Prize. Lyubimov started teaching in 1963 and formed the Taganka Theatre the following year. Under Lyubimov, the theatre rose to become the most popular in Moscow, with Vladimir Vysotsky and Alla Demidova as the leading actors. In 1971 Shakespeare's Hamlet became one of Lyubimov's highly successful and much acclaimed productions.
According to B. Beumers, the major innovations Lyubimov has brought to theatrical history are the creation of a new theatrical genre, the poetic theatre, in which all revolves around one metaphor, and the creation of a new form of dramatic material, which incorporates a historical and biographical context. Lyubimov's performances — including the well-known Antiworlds, Pugachev, Listen!, and Comrade, believe, as well as newer Before and After, Oberiuty, and Honey — are fed and filled with poetic energy. In another performance, Fallen and Living, Yuri Lyubimov and David Samoilov built on verses by Pavel Kogan, Semyon Gudzenko and other poets of the WWII generation.
After Vysotsky's death in 1980, all of Lyubimov's productions were banned by the Communist authorities. In 1984, he was stripped of Soviet citizenship. Thereupon he worked abroad before returning to the Taganka Theatre in 1989. His staging of Eugene Onegin premiered in the Taganka on his 85th birthday to much critical acclaim.
While in the West he maintained a busy directing career. In the United States he directed Crime and Punishment at Arena Stage and Lulu at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 1983 he directed Crime and Punishment in London, winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Director. His effort to re-stage his famous The Master and Margarita at the American Repertory Theater failed to materialize because of a disagreement with the management of that company. In 1989, his Russian citizenship was restored.
In June 2011, before a performance of Bertolt Brecht's play The Good Person of Szechwan in Czech, the actors of Taganka refused to rehearse unless they were paid first. Lyubimov paid the money and left the theatre. "I've had enough of this disgrace, these humiliations, this lack of desire to work, this desire just for money", he said. Lyubimov retired from the theatre the following week. Two leading actors of theatre, Dmitry Mezhevich and Alla Smirdan, as well as some administrative assistants, followed Lyubimov. His dramatization of Dostoevsky's Demons premiered the next year.
In June 2013 Lyubimov staged Alexander Borodin's Prince Igor at the Bolshoi Theatre, which was warmly received by audiences and critics. The new Prince Igor is shorter, with Lyubimov cutting out some parts of the opera. According to Vassily Sinaisky, the Bolshoi chief conductor, such a new structure of the opera was conceived to make it more dynamic and intense.
Lyubimov has staged over 100 dramas and operas. "People tried to stick me with the label of political theater. But that's wrong. I was engaged in an aesthetic, in the expansion of the palette — what shades could be added in working with space and style," he says. Leonardo Shapiro concludes that "Lyubimov is probably best known for his daring theatrical adaptations of poetry and novels and his successful (and sometimes unsuccessful) run-ins with Soviet Premiers and Ministers of Culture over forbidden material."
As an actor he performed in 37 plays and 17 films, and several remain classics today.
Vladimir Vysotsky dedicated some of his famous songs (including "It's Not Evening Yet") to Yuri Lyubimov.
Lyubimov, a director who dominated Russian theatre for half a century, died at 97, after being admitted to the Botkin Clinic in Moscow with heart failure.
- Medal "For the Defence of Leningrad" (1943)
- Medal "For the Defence of Moscow"
- Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
- State Prize of the USSR, 2nd class (1952) - for his role in the play Tyatina "Yegor Bulychov and others" by M. Gorky (Theatre Vakhtangov)
- First Prize of “Theatrical Meetings in Warsaw” II International Festival, Poland (1980).
- London Evening Standard Award for “Crime and Punishment” by F. Dostoyevsky (1983)
- People's Artist of Russia (1991)
- Spectator’s Sympathy Prize of the International Theatrical Festival in Athens (1995)
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 3rd class, Russia (16 September 1997) - for his great personal contribution to the development of theatrical art
- State Prize of the Russian Federation (1997).
- Honorary Medal of the President of the Hungarian Republic (1997).
- Grand Prix of the International Festival in Saloniki (1999).
- “Golden Mask” in the nomination “For Honour and Dignity”, Moscow (2000).
- Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (France, 2002) for outstanding theatrical work
- Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity (2003)
- Knight of the Order of the Polar Star (Sweden, 2004)
- Silver Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2004)
- Order of the Rising Sun, 4th Class, Gold Rays with Rosette, (Japan, 2007)
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 2nd class (Russia, 25 September 2007) - for outstanding contribution to the development of theatrical art, and many years of creative activity
- Honorary Member of Russian Academy of Arts
- Jubilee Medal "50 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Zhukov Medal
- Honoured Artist of the RSFSR
- Robinzon Kruzo (1946)
- Michurin (1948)
- Cossacks of the Kuban (1949)
- Belinsky (1953)
- Kain XVIII (1963)
- Hat hunted off head, BBC, 2000
- Russian playwright Yuri Lyubimov quits theatre company, BBC, 27 June 2011
- Happy 95th Birthday, Yury Lyubimov! 30 September 2012, By John Freedman, The Moscow Times
- The Cambridge Guide to World Theatre (CUP 1988)
- Yuri Lyubimov: Thirty Years at the Taganka Theatre, by B. Beumers, 2004, p. 6
- Зарубежные гастроли Театра на Таганке могут не состояться - Юрий Любимов, ITAR-TASS, 2011
- Четыре сотрудника Таганки покинули театр вслед за Любимовым, Izvestia, 2011
- В Большом прошел премьерный показ "Князя Игоря" в постановке Любимова. 09.06.13, Vesti (in Russian)
- The Prince Igor Opera Gets Revamped
- Shapiro, Leonardo http://bombsite.com/issues/34/articles/1404, BOMB Magazine Winter, 1991. Retrieved on May 31, 2013.
- Владимир Высоцкий. 1968 год
- Russian theatre great for half-century, Yuri Lyubimov dies at 97, AFP, 2014
- Some of the Titles and Awards of Y. P. Lyubimov
- Grande Ufficiale dell’Ordine della Stella della solidarieta italiana Yuri Petrovich Lyubimov.
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