Zankovetskaia, Mariia

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zan’kovetskaia, Mariia Konstantinovna


(pseudonym of M. K. Adasovskaia). Born July 22 (Aug. 3), 1860, in the village of Zan’kai, in present-day Chernigov Oblast; died Oct. 4, 1934, in Kiev. Soviet Ukrainian actress and theatrical figure. People’s Artist of the Ukrainian SSR (1922).

Zan’kovetskaia was the daughter of an impoverished land-owner. She began performing in amateur theatrical groups and in concerts (with a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice) as a young girl and made her debut on the professional stage in 1882. She acted with the most prominent theater troupes in the Ukraine under such directors as M. L. Kropivnitskii, M. P. Staritskii, N. K. Sadovskii, P. K. Saksaganskii, and I. K. Karpenko-Karyi. In 1907 with Sadovskii she organized the first Ukrainian theater in Kiev. After the October Revolution she headed the People’s Theater in Nezhin (1918) and with Saksaganskii founded the People’s Theater in Kiev (1918; present-day M. Zan’kovetskaia Ukrainian Drama Theater in L’vov).

Zan’kovetskaia’s acting was characterized by sincerity, simplicity, spontaneity, and her extraordinary mastery of the art of assuming the character both physically and emotionally. She had enormous impact on the development of Ukrainian drama; the best works by Ukrainian dramatists during the 1880’s and 1890’s were written under her direct influence. Zan’kovetskaia won particular acclaim for her highly realistic portrayals of Natalka and Terpilikha in Kotliarevskii’s Natalka-Poltavka’, Galia in Shevchenko’s Nazar Stodolia’, Olena and Zin’ka in Kropivnitskii’s The Dew Will Eat out Your Eyes Before the Sun Rises and The Bloodsucker or the Spider’, Kharitina and Sofiia in Karpenko-Karyi’s The Hired Girl and The Luckless One; and Aza in Staritskii’s Gypsy Aza.

Zan’kovetskaia was the first Ukrainian actress to achieve recognition from the broad democratic circles throughout Russia. She performed with Ukrainian troupes in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and other major cities. She was highly praised by L. N. Tolstoy, A. P. Chekhov, P. I. Tchaikovsky, K. S. Stanislavsky, VI. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, M. N. Ermolova, and I. E. Repin.


M. K. Zan’kovets’ka. [Kiev-Kharkov,] 1937.
Chagovets’, V.Mania Zan’kovets’ka na shliakhakh zhyttia i tvorchosti. Kiev, 1949.
Durylin, S. M.Mania Zan’kovets’ka. Kiev, 1955.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.