Massalitinov, Nikolai Osipovich
Born Feb. 24, 1880, in Elets, in present-day Lipetsk Oblast; died Mar. 22, 1961, in Sofia. Russian and Bulgarian theatrical figure, actor, director, and teacher. People’s Artist of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria (1948).
In 1907, Massalitinov graduated from the school of the Malyi Theater. From 1907 to 1919 he performed at the Moscow Art Theater, where he improved his acting technique under the direction of K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko. His roles at the Moscow Art Theater included Skalozub in Griboedov’s Woe From Wit and Solenyi in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters. In 1925, Massalitinov settled in Bulgaria, where his roles included Tartuffe in Moliere’s play of the same name and Matthias Clausen in Hauptmann’s Before Sunset
In 1925, Massalitinov became the principal stage director of the People’s Theater in Sofia; he retained this position until 1944, whereupon he worked at the theater in the capacity of a stage director. In 1925 he became the head of the theater’s studio-school (from 1948, the Higher Institute of Theatrical Art).
Massalitinov helped introduce to the Bulgarian stage realism, the artistic principles of the Moscow Art Theater, and Stanislavsky’s method. He was one of the first to stage Soviet dramas in Bulgaria (Kataev’s Squaring the Circle, 1931; Korneichuk’s Platon Krechet, 1940). His other productions included Ostrovskii’s The Dowryless Bride (1937), Ikonomov’sKalin Orel (1941) Gorky’s Enemies (1944), and Zidarov’s The Tsar’s Favor (1948). Massalitinov was awarded the Dimitrov Prize in 1950.