Ivan Vasilevich Samarin
Samarin, Ivan Vasil’evich
Born Jan. 7 (19), 1817, in St. Petersburg; died Aug. 13 (25), 1885, in Moscow. Russian actor and teacher. Student and follower of M. S. Shchepkin.
Samarin was the son of a serf. Upon graduating from the Moscow Theatrical School in 1837, he joined the company of the Malyi Theater. The most important role of his early career was that of Chatskii in Griboedov’s Woe From Wit (1839). In the 1840’s and 1850’s, Samarin performed roles in melodramas and vaudevilles, including the title role in Don César de Bazan by Dumanoir and Dennery, and Doctor Lemonier in The Children’s Doctor by Bourgeois and Dennery. In 1857 he played the title role in his own staging of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. One of his most outstanding roles was Famusov in Woe From Wit (1864). Samarin revealed his talent best in Griboedov roles, playing them “simply, subtly, truthfully, elegantly, and, most important, completely freely and with exceptional wit” (V. N. Davy-dov, Rasskaz o proshlom, 1962, p. 49). His other roles included Petruchio and Benedick in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing and Muromskii in Su-khovo-Kobylin’s Krechinskii’s Wedding. In 1862, Samarin began teaching at the Moscow Theatrical School. From 1874 to the end of his life he taught drama classes at the Moscow Conservatory. His students included G. N. Fedotova and N. A. Ni-kulina. Samarin staged the first production of Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin (1879) at the Malyi Theater with opera students from the conservatory. He also wrote plays, which were staged in the provinces.