Aleksei Semenovich Iakovlev

Iakovlev, Aleksei Semenovich


Born Nov. 3 (14), 1773, in St. Petersburg; died there Nov. 3 (15), 1817. Russian actor.

The son of a merchant from Kostroma, Iakovlev was educated in a parish school. He worked as a salesman in a store. He was coached for his stage debut, which took place in St. Petersburg in 1794, by I. A. Dmitrevskii, who had noticed Iakovlev’s talent.

Iakovlev was a precursor of the romantic style of acting. When he appeared in classical tragedies, he emphasized his character’s inner dissatisfaction, critical rejection of the world, and depth of feeling. Notable in this regard were his performances as Joad in Racine’s Athalie, Tancrède in Voltaire’s Tancrède, and Iarbas in Kniazhnin’s Dido. His tendency toward an emotional and dynamic manner was particularly evident in his roles in bourgeois dramas and melodramas, such as Meinau in Kotzebue’s The Stranger.

Iakovlev’s career entered a new phase with his performances in the preromantic plays of V. A. Ozerov; he played Agamemnon in Polyxena and the title roles in Fingal and Dmitrii Donskoi. Iakovlev was the first actor in Russia to play the role of Karl Moore in Schiller’s The Robbers and the title roles in Shakespeare’s Othello and Hamlet.


Danilov, S. S. Russkii dramaticheskii teatr XIX veka, vol. 1. Leningrad-Moscow, 1957.
Rodina, T. Russkoe teatral’noe iskusstvo v nachale XIX veka. Moscow, 1961.