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Best theatre director in the USSR

August 28, 2017

Today we celebrate 100th anniversary of Semyon Vladimirovich Zelmanov. An Honored Culture Professional of RSFSR, he was awarded with the Red Star, the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class and the Badge of Honor; for 15 years he has been directing the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet theatre, since 1950 till 1965. That period is still considered as one of the most productive and successful time of the theatre in XX century.

It was one of the best theatres of the Soviet Union at that time recalls Edward Fugenfirov, NGATOiB artist, who spent 40 years working at the theatre. Semyon Vladimirovich Zelmanov was the best theatre director in the USSR, for sure. He literally set up this theatre, elevated it to the Bolshoi theatre level. In 1955 we toured to Moscow and employees of the Bolshoi theatre told us frankly: you are not worse than us in any way. This place held great creative potential not only orchestra, but also ballet, opera, chorus.

Semyon Vladimirovich Zelmanov was born 1917 in Irkutsk. After graduating from school in Novosibirsk he started his career with Komsomol activities. He worked as a cinema manager, than a deputy regional department director of movie theatre network expansion. In 1939 Semyon Zelmanov was assigned to political work within the Red Forces, and then from 1941 to 1945 he fought at the Great Patriotic War.

In 1946, after returning from war to Novosibirsk Semyon Zelmanov he went to NGPI and graduated as history teacher. At the same time he studied at the regional political school, after which he worked in political sphere in Novosibirsk.

In 1950 Semyon Vladimirovich Zelmanov took up the position of Director General of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet theatre. After his nomination many young talented artists joined the theatre: dancers, singers, conductors, ballet masters, the theatre repertoire expanded significantly, the company started touring Moscow, PRC, United Arab Emirates and other. Directed by Zelmanov, the theatre was on top five of the countrys best musical theatres list, then in 1963 it became the first regional theatre to be entitled academic.

It was easy to breathe in the theatre. A lot things are determined by the director recalled Oleg Vinogradov, an outstanding ballet master, whose artistic career started at the theatre while Semyon Zelmanov was in charge. Semyon Vladimirovich was well experienced in all the facets of his work. He held on hard to the administrative reins of the theatre while giving a lot of space to the artistic department, only interfering when it was necessary and resolving hardest conflicts. In 1965 Semyon Vladimirovich Zelmanov was reassigned to Moscow.