The Master

Mikhail Grigoryevich Vodyanoy

Mikhail Vodyanoy was born on 23 December 1924 in Kharkiv.  He studied for 3 years at Leningrad A. N. Ostrovsky Theatre University (now Russian State Institute of Performing Arts).

During 1943-1945 he worked at Pyatigorsk Theatre of Musical Comedy. In 1945 Mikhail Vodyanoy came to Lviv Theatre of Musical Comedy, which in 1953 moved to Odessa. Since then Mikhail Vodyanoy was an actor of Odessa Theatre of Musical Comedy.

In 1957 Mikhail Vodyanoy was awarded a title of Merited Artist of Ukraine. In 1964 he became a People's Artist of Ukraine, and in 1976 — People's Artist of USSR (the first people’s artist of operetta).

Mikhail Vodyanoy is one of our city’s key figures, the symbol of Odessa. Even Leonid Utyosov called him “Odessa’s envoy to Moscow”.

More than 40 years of his life Mikhail Vodyanoy spent at Odessa Theatre of Musical Comedy, where he played over 100 roles. The talented master created a variety of bright dramatic characters, won popularity and captured spectators’ hearts. His title of “The King of Operetta” was well-deserved.

Here are his roles which became classics of not only artist’s career, but also the whole musical theatre genre: Iashka the Tug (“White Acacia” by I. Dunayevsky), Mishka Yaponchik (“At Dawn” by O. Sandler), Alfred Doolittle (“My Fair Lady” by F. Loewe), Andrey (“Four of Zhanna Street” by O. Sandler),  Sancho Panza (“Man of La Mancha” by M. Leigh), Boni (“The Czardas Princess (Silva)” E. Kálmán), Agabo (“My Heart is Here” by G. Tsabadze), Tzar (“Russian Secret” by V. Dmitrieva), Tevye (“Fiddler on the Roof” by J. Bock).

Tremendously successful was Vodyanoy’s role of Popandopulo in the play and the film of the same name “Wedding in Malinovka”. The Third All-Union Film Festival declared this role to be the best comical one.

During his last years the artist played roles which proved his outstanding actor’s talent: Gusyatnikov (“Late Serenade”) and Tevye (“Fiddler on the Roof”). The last one was his swan song.

On 11 September 1987 Mikhail Vodyanoy passed away. He was buried at the Second Christian Cemetery.

Besides enormous actor’s labour, Mikhail Vodyanoy was also doing administrative and public work. For several years Mikhail Vodyanoy was the theatre’s chief executive and creative director, and did a lot to put up a new building for Odessa Theatre of Musical Comedy, which in 1995 was named after him.

The play “The Ball in Honour of The King” was casted in the memory of the Master.

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