Nikolai Vasilevich Smolich
Smolich, Nikolai Vasil’evich
Born June 12 (24), 1888, in St. Petersburg; died July 31, 1968, in Moscow. Soviet stage director. People’s Artist of the USSR (1944). Member of the CPSU from 1946.
Smolich studied at the University of St. Petersburg from 1905 to 1908. In 1911 he studied drama. He acted at the Aleksandrinskii Theater from 1911 to 1917, becoming a director there in 1916. In 1922 he became a director at the State Theater of Opera and Ballet (after 1935 the Kirov Theater of Opera and Ballet). He staged Verdi’s La Traviata (1923), Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (1924), Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots (1935 and 1951), Gounod’s Faust (1949), and Bizet’s Carmen (1950). From 1924 to 1930 he was director and artistic director of the Leningrad Malyi Opera Theater.
Smolich helped raise the cultural level of opera in Russia and broaden its repertoire. He was the first in the Soviet Union to stage Shostakovich’s operas The Nose (1930) and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District (also known as Katerina Izmailova, 1934). From 1930 to 1936, Smolich was principal director of the Bol-shoi Theater. Subsequently, in 1947 and 1948, he served as a director there. From 1938 to 1947 he was artistic director, stage director, and director of the Shevchenko Theater of Opera and Ballet in Kiev. He also taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1961 to 1963. Smolich was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and several medals.