Asenkova, Varvara

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Asenkova, Varvara Nikolaevna


Born Apr. 10, 1817, in St. Petersburg; died there Apr. 19, 1841. Russian actress. Daughter of the actress A. E. Asenkova.

Between 1835 and 1841, V. N. Asenkova acted at the Aleksandrinskii Theater in St. Petersburg. Having an unusually versatile talent, she performed in vaudeville, comedies, melodrama, dramas dealing with the contemporary way of life, and tragedy. Her performance in the roles of young men and girls disguised in men’s clothing, such as the cadet Lelev and Gabrielle (in the vaudeville pieces The Hussars’ Station by Orlov and The Girl-Hussar by F. A. Koni) and Cherubino (in Beaumarchais’s The Marriage of Figaro), made Asenkova famous as one of the best travesty performers on the world stage. Asenkova’s acting in tragedies was remarkable for its simplicity, unity of thought, and strength of lyrical feeling. Asenkova’s roles included Mar’ia An-tonovna in Gogol’s The Inspector General, Sofia and Natal’iaDmitrievna in Griboedov’s Woe From Wit, Natasha the miller’s daughter in Pushkin’s Rusalka, Ophelia and Cordelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and King Lear, and Esmeralda in the dramatization of Hugo’s novel Notre Dame de Paris. The image of Asenkova is frequently reflected in literature, particularly in N. A. Nekrasov’s lyrics.


Karatygin, P. “V. N. Asenkova.” Russkaia starina, October, 1880.
Sushkov, D. “V. N. Asenkova.” Repertuar russkogo teatra, 1841, vol. 1, book 5.
Brianskii, A. M. V. N. Asenkova. Leningrad, 1947.
Rodina, T. V. N. Asenkova. Moscow, 1952.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.