Andrei Vasil’evich Karatygin. Born July 4 (15), 1774, in St. Petersburg; died there Dec. 26, 1831 (Jan. 7, 1832).

A. V. Karatygin graduated from St. Petersburg Theatrical School in 1794, where he had studied under I. A. Dmitrevskii. In 1791 he made his stage debut at the Bolshoi Theater in St. Petersburg in the role of Hector in Regnard’s The Player. He initially played the roles of young libertines; after 1810 he portrayed “noble fathers.” In 1819, Karatygin became the director of a St. Petersburg dramatic company. He retired from the stage in 1822. From 1794 until his death, he maintained a diary, the Theater Journal, in which he kept a daily record of all the events of the St. Petersburg stage. The diary is at the Institute of Russian Literature—the Pushkin House—in Leningrad. P. N. Ara-pov used the diary as a source for his Annals of the Russian Theater(1861).

Vasilii Andreevich Karatygin. Born Feb. 26 (Mar. 10), 1802, in St. Petersburg; died there Mar. 13 (25), 1853. Son of A. V. Karatygin.

V. A. Karatygin was a student at the Cadet School of Mining and served in the department of foreign trade. He studied acting under A. A. Shakhovskoi and P. A. Katenin. The latter was a prominent advocate and theorist of classical tragedy. In 1820, Karatygin made his debut at the St. Petersburg Bolshoi Theater in the title role of V. A. Ozerov’s tragedy Fingal. Although Karatygin had been on close terms with the progressive circles of the youth of the dvorianstvo (nobility), which included A. S. Pushkin, A. S. Griboedov, K. F. Ryleev, and W. K. Kuchel-becker, he allied himself with the conservative camp after the suppression of the Decembrist uprising.

In the early years of his career, Karatygin appeared primarily in classical tragedies. By the 1820’s the characteristic features of his acting were established: lofty heroic emotionality, a grand manner, rhetorical speaking, graphic gestures, and statuesque poses. Karatygin performed the title roles in Ozerov’s Dmitrii Donskoi and in Corneille’s Le Cid, and the role of Hippolytus in Racine’s Phèdre. He enjoyed great success in romantic plays and in melodramas that had been translated into Russian. Karatygin was the principal tragedian of the Aleksandrinskii Theater in St. Petersburg from its opening in 1832. He played leading roles in pseudopatriotic plays, portraying Pozharskii and Liapunov in KukoPnik’s The Hand of the Almighty Saved the Fatherland and Prince Mikhailo VasiVevich Skopin-Shuiskii and Igolkin in Polevoi’s Igolkin, Merchant of Novgorod. Basing his interpretations on classical aesthetics, Karatygin stressed what he believed to be the one primary characteristic of the hero— Othello’s jealousy and Hamlet’s desire to seize the throne (Shakespeare’s Othello and Hamlet, 1836 and 1837, respectively).

Karatygin’s temporary engagements in Moscow in 1833 and 1835 prompted lively discussion. The critics V. G. Belinskii and N. I. Nadezhdin (P. Shch.) took a negative view of Karatygin’s ostentatious acting, contrasting it with the turbulent work of P. S. Mochalov, a favorite of popular audiences. “Watching his acting,” Belinskii wrote in the article “And My Opinion About the Acting of Mr. Karatygin,” “you are continually surprised, but never moved, never stirred” (Poln. sobr. soch, vol. 1, 1953, p. 187).

Karatygin was influenced by Belinskii’s articles, as well as by the general development of realism and his own trips to Moscow and joint appearances with many masters of the realist school. His performances acquired features of naturalism and psychological depth. “His acting is becoming less and less affected and closer to nature,” noted Belinskii in an article devoted to Karatygin’s performance (1839) of the leading role in Schenk’s drama Belizar (ibid., vol. 3, 1953, p. 323). Belinskii valued highly Karatygin’s complex psychological development of the character of the senile, cowardly, cruel Louis XI in Auffenberg’s The Enchanted House in 1836. Karatygin carefully tailored each role. His preparation for a role included studying numerous literary sources and pictorial materials. His career had a positive influence on the development of acting.

Karatygin was the first to perform the roles of Chatskii in Griboedov’s Woe From Wit (1831), Don Juan and the Baron in Pushkin’s The Stone Guest (1847) and The Covetous Knight (1852), and Arbenin in Lermontov’s Masquerade (individual scenes, 1852). He translated and reworked more than 40 plays for performance on the Russian stage, including Dumas père’s Kean, or Disorder and Genius and Shakespeare’s King Lear and Coriolanus.

Alexandra Mikhailovna Karatygina. (née Kolosova). Born Feb. 4 (16), 1802, in St. Petersburg; died there Mar. 7 (19), 1880. Wife of V. A. Karatygin.

A. M. Karatygina, a student of A. A. Shakhovskoi and P. A. Katenin, made her stage debut in St. Petersburg in 1818. Her repertoire was classical (Moina in Ozerov’s Fingal and Camille in Corneille’s Horace). She achieved her greatest success in romantic dramas, melodramas, and salon comedies. Karatygina played the title role in Schiller’s Maria Stuart, Madame de Lery in Musset’s Woman’s Wit Is Better Than All Thought (Un Caprice), and the title role in Polevoi’s Elena Glinskaia.

Petr Andreevich Karatygin. Born June 29 (July 11), 1805, in St. Petersburg; died there Sept. 24 (Oct. 6), 1879. Son of A. V. Karatygin.

P. A. Karatygin graduated from the St. Petersburg Theatrical School in 1821. He performed at the Aleksandrinskii Theater all his life. He portrayed roles primarily in comedies and vaudevilles. Best known as a vaudeville writer, he created more than 40 works (Vaudeville Sketches, 1937). The best of these vaudevilles include The House on the Petersburg Side (1838), The First Circle Box for the Last Performance of Taglioni (1838), The Bakery, or the St. Petersburg German (1843), The Civil Service Uniform (1845), and Uncle With Three Legs (1853). They were successful because of their timely subjects, lively dialogue, and entertaining satirical songs. The limitations of Karatygin’s views were revealed in the vaudeville The Natural School (1847), in which the realistic and democratic orientations of Russian literature were ridiculed. He was the author of Notes (vols. 1–2, 1929— 30; latest edition, 1970), which reflected the events of theatrical life during his times.

Alexandra Dmitrievna Karatygina (née Perlova). Born in 1777; died in 1859. Wife of A. V. Karatygin, mother of Vasilii and Petr Karatygin. A. D. Karatygina was a stage actress in St. Petersburg


Lebedev, V. A. “‘Zhurnal Teatral’nyi’ artista Andreia Karatygina.” In the collection O teatre, [vol.] 2. Leningrad, 1927.
Karpinskaia, E., and E. Finkel’shtein. “O Karatygine.” Teatr, 1941, no. 5.
Rodina, T. “Russkie romanticheskie aktery: P. Mochalov, V. Karatygin.” In TeatraVnyi al’manakh, book 8. Moscow, 1948. Pages 163–91. (Collection of articles and materials.)
Al’tshuller, A. Ia. Teatr proslavlennykh masterov: Ocherki istorii Alek-sandrinskoi stseny. Leningrad, 1968. Pages 31–34, 42–45, 58–67.
Koroleva, N. “P. A. Karatygin i ego ‘Zapiski.’ “In P. Karatygin, Zapiski. Leningrad, 1970.