Ryzhova, Varvara

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ryzhova, Varvara Nikolaevna


Born Jan. 15 (27), 1871, in Moscow; died there May 18, 1963. Soviet Russian actress. People’s Artist of the USSR (1937).

Ryzhova was a descendant of the Borozdiny-Muzil’, a family of performing artists. In 1893 she completed the drama courses at the Moscow Theater School in the class of A. P. Lenskii and joined the Malyi Theater. She began her career as a comic actress and vaudevillian. From about 1910 she played primarily comic “old ladies.”

Ryzhova attained her highest artistry in classical Russian plays, especially those of A. N. Ostrovskii. A master of Russian stage speech, she skillfully revealed the inner world of her characters. Authenticity, gentle humor, and sincerity distinguished her art. Her best roles in Ostrovskii’s plays included Feklusha in The Thunderstorm, Anfusa Tikhonovna in Wolves and Sheep, Ulita in The Forest, Glumova in Even a Wise Man Stumbles, Felitsata in Truth Is Good, but Happiness Is Better, and Domna Pantelevna in Talents and Admirers. Ryzhova’s other memorable roles included the Countess-Grandmother in Griboedov’s Woe From Wit and Avdot’ia in Rasteriaeva Street, based on the literary sketches by Gl. Uspenskii; in the Soviet repertoire, her major roles included Mar’ia in Trenev’s Liubov’ Iarovaia, Mo-tyl’kova in Gusev’s Glory, and Demid’evna in Leonov’s Invasion. A major representative of the art of the Malyi Theater, Ryzhova in the Soviet period brought more social content to her classical roles.

Ryzhova received the State Prize of the USSR (1943). She also was awarded two Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and various medals.


Durylin, S. V. N. Ryzhova. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.