Yuri Lyubimov

Definition

Theater

  • (1917 - ) Controversial Russian director who is bestknown for his long association with the Moscow Theatre of Drama and Comedy(see Taganka Theatre). He was appointed head of the thenlargely moribund Taganka in 1964. Despite mounting several experimentalproductions that incurred the displeasure of the authorities, in 1977 he wasgiven permission to take the company on foreign tours and to direct inWestern Europe. During one foreign visit in 1984, however, Lyubimov stronglycondemned Soviet restrictions on the arts, an action that led the authoritiesto strip him firstly of his position at the Taganka and then of hiscitizenship.

    Lyubimov subsequently directed in Europe and America, receivingparticularly high acclaim for his adaptations of Dostoyevsky's Crimeand Punishment and The Possessed, the latter being presentedin 1985 at the Théâtre de l'Europe in Paris.Lyubimov's citizenship was restored during the era of glasnost andin 1989 he was reappointed to his old position at the Taganka, where hepresented a revival of Boris Mozhaev's banned playAlive (1968), which exposes the bureaucratic mistakes of the1930s. Subsequently, however, there was a bitter rift in the company that ledto the setting up of a rival Taganka troupe and a protracted legal battle overthe ownership of the theater. After several years of deadlock Lyubimov emerged victorious and reclaimed the Taganka; in 2002 an acclaimed production of Eugene Onegin was staged there to celebrate his 85th birthday.

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