Mikhail Tsarev

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tsarev, Mikhail Ivanovich


Born Nov. 18 (Dec. 1), 1903, in Tver’ (present-day Kalinin). Soviet Russian actor, stage director, and teacher. People’s Artist of the USSR (1949). Member of the CPSU since 1949. Hero of Socialist Labor (1973).

Tsarev studied at the Petrograd School of Russian Drama from 1919 to 1921 under Iu. M. Iur’ev. In 1920, while still a student, he joined the company of the Bolshoi Drama Theater. In the years that followed, he appeared at the Vasil’evskii Ostrov Theater, the former Korsh Theater, and theaters in Makhachkala, Kazan, and Simferopol’. From 1933 to 1937 he performed with the Meyerhold Theater, and in 1937 he joined the Malyi Theater, becoming its administrative director in 1950.

For many years, Tsarev performed the role of Chatskii in Griboedov’s Woe From Wit, first at the Vasil’evskii Ostrov Theater, then at the Meyerhold Theater, and later at the Malyi Theater. Beginning in the 1960’s he performed the role of Famusov in the same play.

Tsarev revealed profound civic and party spirit and concern for topical issues in the roles of such young heroes as Ognev and Romodan in Korneichuk’s The Front and Wings and Harry Smith in Simonov’s The Russian Question. He created consummate psychological portraits in drama, for example, as Protasov in L. N. Tolstoy’s The Living Corpse, Rostanev in a dramatization of Dostoevsky’s The Village of Stepanchikovo, the title role in Chekhov’s Ivanov, and Arbenin in Lermontov’s Masquerade. He is equally gifted in tragedy, notably in the title role in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Tsarev proved himself a master of skillful inner characterization and great invective force, for example, as the Leader in Vishnevskii’s An Optimistic Tragedy, in the title role in Gorky’s The Old Man, and as Il’ia Repin in Dangulov’s The Confession. He organically combines the romantic with the realistic and the traditional with the innovative. A versatile actor, he is also successful in roles of bold comedy and gentle humor, for example, Higgins in Shaw’s Pygmalion, Glumov in Ostrovskii’s Even a Wise Man Stumbles, and Don Caesar in Hugo’s Ruy Blas. In the 1970’s, Tsarev achieved an artistic triumph in the tragic role of Matthias Klausen in Hauptmann’s Before Sunset. Tsarev also gives dramatic readings.

Tsarev began to teach in 1935. He joined the faculty of the M. S. Shchepkin Theatrical School in 1941 and became a professor there in 1962. In 1964 he became head of the All-Russian Theatrical Society, and in 1959 he became president of the Soviet National Center of the International Theatre Institute. He is the author of What Is Theater? (1960) and Unique Moments (1975). He has also acted in motion pictures.

Tsarev has been awarded the State Prize of the USSR (1947, 1969), three Orders of Lenin, two other orders, and several medals.


Filippov, VI. “M. I. Tsarev v roli Fedi Protasova.” In Ezhegodnik Malogo teatra, 1953–1954. Moscow, 1956.
Zubkov, Iu. “Mikhail Tsarev.” Teatr, 1961, no. 11.
Korzhevich, L. “Tri roli Mikhaila Tsareva.” Teatr, 1973, no. 8.
Leikin, N. “Mudroe iskusstvo Mikhaila Tsareva.” In Akter, akter i eshche raz akter.... Moscow, 1975.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Finally, Finance University professor Mikhail Tsarev, who is reportedly independent, was elected to the board.