Alexander Sandro Moissi

Moissi, Alexander (Sandro)

 

Born Apr. 2, 1880, in Trieste; died Mar. 23, 1935, in Lugano. German actor of Albanian descent.

In 1898, Moissi began studying at the Vienna Conservatory (baritone). He appeared as an extra, later becoming an actor, at the Burgtheater. In 1904 he started working under the director M. Reinhardt; from 1905 to 1933 he performed at the Deutsches Theater and the Kammerspiele in Berlin. Moissi’s inspired manner of acting, the gentle elegance of his movements, and the great variety of nuances of his captivating voice made memorable his portrayals of dreamy, lonely, and vulnerable people, such as Oswald in Ibsen’s Ghosts.

Moissi’s disillusionment with bourgeois life around him, as well as his own democratic views, were evident in his striving to convey the tragedy of pure, noble heroes, mentally tormented as a result of their encounters with the vulgarity, harshness, and injustice of life. Such heroes include Hamlet (Shakespeare’s Hamlet), Protasov (L. N. Tolstoy’s The Living Corpse), and Ivanov (Chekhov’s Ivanov). Moissi’s emotional quality responded to the heroic themes of the plays in which he performed; among his finest roles were Romeo (Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet) and the Marquis of Posa (Schiller’s Don Carlos).

A versatile actor, Moissi was also a complete master of the tragicomic grotesque. Among his best roles were Franz Moor in Schiller’s The Robbers and Mephistopheles in Goethe’s Faust. Moissi also acted in plays by F. Grillparzer, A. Schnitzler, H. von Hofmannsthal, and F. Wedekind. He took part in the organization of the Salzburg Festival.

After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Moissi left Germany; he later worked in Austria and Italy. Moissi toured the USSR in 1924 and 1925. He had a high opinion of the achievements of the Soviet Russian theater and of K. S. Stanislavsky and the Moscow Art Theater.

REFERENCES

Kliuev, V. “Moissi.” In the collection Trud aktera, vol. 4. Moscow, 1959.
Böhm, H. Moissi: Der Mensch und der Künstler in Worten und Bildern. Berlin, 1927.

I. IA. NOVODVORSKAIA