Zaharov, Oleksander

Image - Oleksander Zaharov

Zaharov, Oleksander (Загаров, Олександер; real surname: Fessing), b 17 January 1877 in Yelysavethrad, Kherson gubernia, d 12 November 1941 in Saratov, RSFSR. Theater director and actor. After graduating form the Moscow Philharmonic School he began his career in various Russian theaters in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. He moved to Kyiv and became artistic director of the State Drama Theater (1918–19) and the Shevchenko First Theater of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic (1919–21). Subsequently he became artistic director of the Ukrainska Besida Theater (1921–3) in Lviv and the Ruthenian Theater of the Prosvita Society (1923–5) in Uzhhorod. After returning from Prague (where he had worked with Mykola Sadovsky) to Ukraine in 1926, Zaharov worked in the Zankovetska Theater (until 1927) and directed the Kharkiv Chervonozavodskyi Ukrainian Drama Theater (until 1928). A director of the realistic-psychological school, in Ukrainian theaters he successfully staged plays by Volodymyr Vynnychenko, Lesia Ukrainka, Yakiv Mamontov, Henrik Ibsen, Gerhard Hauptmann, and William Shakespeare. He was severely criticized for his productions of Liudmyla Starytska-Cherniakhivska’s Rozbiinyk Karmeliuk (The Robber Karmeliuk) and Vynnychenko’s Hrikh (Sin), and left Kharkiv to work in Russian provincial theaters. Zaharov lectured at the Kyiv Lysenko Music and Drama Institute and the Ukrainian Drama School in Lviv. A biography by N. Nikieiev was published in Kyiv in 1969.

Valeriian Revutsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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