Iosif Sumbatashvili

People’s Artist of the Soviet Union, Laureate of
the Soviet Union State Award, Russian Festival of Performing Arts “Golden Mask”
Award winner (nomination “Honour and Dignity”).

Iosif Georgievich
Sumbatashvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, 10 (23) October, 1915. He studied
in Civil Engineering College and graduated from the painting department of the
Tbilisi Academy of Arts.

In 1942 Iosif
Sumbatashvili became Art Director of the Paliashvili Opera House and was
invited to the Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre for the decoration work
of the Levan Gotua’s David the Builder(directed by Tabliashvili). His work received high marks from Simon Virsaladze
(Art Director of The Rustaveli National Theatre).

Next 12
years were celebrated with such plays as Zakaria Paliashvili’s Twilight (Tbilisi Opera House),
Euripides’s Medea and Alexander Ostrovsky’s Without a Dowry Kote
Marjanishvili State Drama) and films as Keto
and Kote, Magdanas Lurja as well as with numerous cartoons. 

In 1958 Iosif Sumbatashvili began his work in Moscow as a decorator for the
Aleksei Arbuzov’s Irkutsk Story (The Vakhtangov
Theatre). In 1962 he was appointed an Art Director at the Central Academic
Theatre of the Russian Army where together with the Director of this theatre Leonid
Heifetz he created outstanding images for such plays as Uncle Vanya, Pavel the First of Russia, Masquerade, Yakov Bogomolov and Ivan the Terrible’s Death which was marked with a gold medal of
the International Stagecraft Exhibition Prague
Quadriennale. This work is believed to have a great influence over the
tradition of the Russian historical plays decoration.

The name of Iosif Sumbatashvili is strongly connected with such theatres as
The Moscow Art Theatre, Moscow Maly Theatre, Mariinsky Theatre, Novosibirsk
Opera House. He also had a vast experience of working abroad – in Poland,
Bulgaria, Germany (mainly Saarbr?cken and Leipzig) and many others.Among
Russian theatres The Vakhtangov and The Central Academic Theatre of the Russian
Army played the most important role in Sumbatashvili’s life. In the latter he
worked as an Art Director till his very last day.

Iosif Georgievich
Sumbatashvili died 11 February, 2012.

Irkutsk Story, 1959
Antony and Cleopatra, 1971
The Lady Behind the Green Door, 1973
The Lifelong Day, 1974
The Glembays, 1975
Stepan Razin, 1979
The Wood Demon, 1980
Mystery-Bouffe, 1981
The Glass of Water, 1988
Imperial Hunt, 2002

The Central Academic Theatre of the Russian Army:
Much Ado About Nothing, 1996
The Lower Depths, by Maxim Gorky, 1998
Othello, by William Shakespeare, 1999
The Moscow Art Theatre:
The Smelters, 1973
Volokolamsk Highway , 1982
Combats With a Local Meaning, 1985
Moscow Maly Theatre:
The Wood Demon, 1990
Tsar Boris, 1993
The Guilty Mother, of The Other Tartuffe, 1994
The Winners’ Feast, 1995
The Talents and Admirers, 1995 and other years.
Mariinsky Theatre:
operas: Peter the Great, 1975
Alexander Pushkin, 1979
Novosibirsk Opera House:
Romeo and Juliet (ballet), 1972