Alexey Popov

People’s Artist of the USSR A director, theoretician of the theater and teacher Alexey Dmitriyevich Popov was born on 12(24) March 1892.He started his artistic career in 1912 as a worker at the MAT, and then in the 1st MAT Studio.Popov’s first direction work was “Neznakomka” by Blok at the Mansurov Studio (Moscow), but it was left unfinished.In 1918-1923 he worked as an actor, director and manager of the Studio Performances Theatre (Kostroma).Since 1923 was a director of the 3rd MAT Studio (Vakhtangov’s one).Popov’s fist performance at the Vakgtangov Theatre was “Comedies of Merimee” (1924). His next performances — “Virineya” by L. Seyfullina (1925) and “Razlom” by B. Lavrenev (1927) were defined as great social canvases at the history of the Russian theatre. M.O. Knebel, who later on worked a lot with Alexey Popov, said that in “Virineya” appeared such features of Popov’s director style as “the folksy sense of humour” and demanding taste. Knebel mentioned performances “Zoyka’s Apartment” by M. Bulgakov and “Conspiracy of Feelings” by Y. Olesha as examples of “perfect director taste”.Alexey Dmitriyevich Popov worked at the Vakhtangov Theatre till 1930, and he in a great way influenced the formation of the artistic and aesthetic attitude of the Theatre. He left the Theatre because of discontent of some Vakhtangov’s students, who accused him of going away from the existing traditions.In 1930 Popov came to the Theatre of Revolution to see the performance “Poem about the ax” by N. Pogodin, and in 1931-1935 he became its Art Director. Staged by Popov at the Theatre of Revolution performance “Romeo and Juliet” is said to be one of the best interpretation of Shakespeare not only in Russia, but all over the world.Soon after that production Popov left the Theatre of Revolution and headed the Central Theatre of the Red Army.Alexey Popov’s pedagogical activity started in 1919.Among his students are: B. Schukin, M. Аstangov, M. Babanova, V. Zeldin, L. Kasatkina, etc.Since 1940 Popov was a professor at GITIS, and in 1961 he became the Art Director of that institution of higher education.For a long time Popov taught Direction (together with M.I. Knebel), and in recent decades their students have become leading directors in some countries.The last of the director’s life was marked with trying to understand of the past artistic career and live: his theoretical works, pedagogical activity, working on his memoirs helped Popov to formulate deeply and precisely “the mission of actor and goals of direction” at the turn of the century, which absorbed the huge experience of theatre art mastery. Alexey Dmitriyevich Popov died on 18 August 1961.

Comedies of Merimee, 1924
Virineya, 1925
Razlom, 1927
Zoyka’s Apartment, 1928
Conspiracy of Feelings, 1929