Oleg Popov. This is history.

On July 31, the People’s Artist of the USSR, the legend of the Soviet circus Oleg Popov turned 81, more than 60 of which are in the circus arena. The Samara Circus is named after him. Not everyone knows that the world-famous clown, People’s Artist of the USSR Oleg Popov, being a citizen of Russia, has been living and working in Germany for 20 years in a small German village with his wife Gabriela. It was Gabi Lehmann who helped Oleg Popov get through that difficult time by offering him to stay with her until a new impresario was found with a proposal for further work. They went on tour to Holland together, soon becoming husband and wife. Today Oleg Popov is a clown in love, and Gabriela and her husband perform in the same circus program with the Big State Russian Circus. source: http://pokernat.ucoz.ru/news/2011-08-17-50 Oleg Konstantinovich does not really like the hype around his own person, and even more so meetings with the press. For me, an exception was made. On the threshold of his ranch, I was met by the hero of the day himself, in life a charming, cheerful and fit person. Smiling cordially, he led me into the living room and offered herbal tea. X Turning over the years – Oleg Konstantinovich, how do you manage to be in great shape at such and such an age. What is the secret of your youth? – I will not hide – you are not the first who hints to me that for my age I am too well preserved (smiles …). Thank God, while I am full of energy and in comparison with many of my peers I feel not bad. I don’t particularly feel age, although purely physically – what I was capable of, for example, at the age of 20, now I won’t be able to do – I won’t even try. And the secret of a great shape is that I don’t need anything financially. Since I do not live on a pension, I am not tormented by the thought: “What to eat tomorrow?”. Confidence in the future is the key to excellent form. God did not deprive me of health. And even more so, I don’t feel like a person who has lived to such an age. Look at me, do you have any more questions? – Well, just think about it, Oleg Konstantinovich! After all, you are a whole era in our minds. – Yes, it really is a little surprising: Stalin – Khrushchev – Brezhnev – Andropov – Gorbachev. And at the same time … Kennedy – Reagan. And in Germany: Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schroeder, Angela Merkel, who else … Here is such a global political palette of that and now … Stalin’s time, then childhood and youth – wartime: fear, hunger, cold, taking thousands of lives either to camps, either to war, but in any case, almost certainly to death. It was a terrible time. It did not bypass our family with its scythe, hooking, first of all, parents. Dad worked at the Second Moscow Watch Factory as a mechanic, and as my grandmother told me, some special watches were made at the factory for Stalin and something happened to them there. And therefore, many workers of the plant were taken away in an unknown direction, and my dad too. He died in prison. We’ve had a hard life. We lived with my mother, to put it mildly, poor. Then came the war… I always wanted to eat. To do this, he sold soap on Saltykovka, which was cooked by a neighbor in the apartment. And I was always haunted by a dream – when the war is over, I will eat white bread with butter and drink tea with sugar … I also remember how during the war I ate porridge, and my mother cried looking at me. Much later I found out that it was from hunger. She gave me the last. In the reprises and scenes of Popov, the versatility of the talent of a great clown was revealed, which proved to be capable of not only brightly comedic, but also sharply satirical jokes, an entre on topical everyday and socio-political topics. Lyrical, poetic moods were just as successful for the artist. This was especially evident in the lyrical, slightly sad pantomimic reprise “Ray”, performed for the first time in 1961. With this scene, Oleg Popov proved that the clown is not only funny and makes fun of vices, but can reach out to the most intimate person in the soul, can awaken kindness and tenderness in him. – Oleg Konstantinovich, which of all your reprises is your favorite? – All my reprises are loved for me, like children, because they are melodic, calm, philosophical. But, of course, among them there are the most expensive. And this is, first of all, “Ray”. When I go out into the circus arena and a ray of sunshine shines on me, I bask in it. Then I collect it in a basket. And, leaving the arena, I turn to the audience and give this beam to them. So this sunbeam caught in a string bag is my most expensive and favorite number. Once, during a sermon in one of the churches in Germany, this scene was mentioned as an example of humanism and humanity. – You were a student of the Pencil. What did you learn from the great master of clowning? – I learned clown skills from such best clowning masters as Berman, Vyatkin, Pencil. But there was no one better than Pencil. Oh, how small and funny he was! Well, just tiredness! I really liked the pencil: I learned a lot from him, although he “accepted” a little bit … But in those days it was somehow like that … it was even accepted. Some didn’t enter the arena without it. Thank God I managed to avoid this. It helped that I still performed on the wire. Of course, I admired Pencil’s industriousness. He was always busy with some business, he was constantly on the arena. I saw how he worked hard, hence my love for clowning and work. X Popov Family Circus – The life of a circus performer is constantly on the move – is it not difficult for you to cope with them, Oleg Konstantinovich? – When you are constantly moving, the main thing is not to lose the props. Despite the fact that we are circus performers, we live on wheels, each of us has a home that we often think about and which we can always return to if we wish. Here’s what’s interesting: a male artist can marry anyone – an artist or, say, a spectator whom he met in some city, like me, for example (smiling, winking). And the wife at the same time will definitely travel together. She will work with him in the arena or simply accompany him on trips, do housework, cook food, give birth to children. This is how many circus families are formed. Most artists, if they are family, travel together. We understand each other perfectly, we are equally tired, we have the same rhythm of life, and in general, when I’m in the arena, I don’t care what’s going on in my kitchen. When you are on the road for six months or more, you are glad that you just ended up at home. Here is the best vacation. Are you already a European in spirit or is it still Russian? “…I don’t know myself. It seems to be, yes, and it seems to be not … – After all, to settle down here is to change yourself in many ways … – Yes, it is, but it’s easy to settle down in Germany. I like it here. And my living conditions are very normal. If a person thinks about tomorrow, he simply has no time to think about nostalgia. Especially when I’m busy with my work – then there is no time for nostalgia. The homeland, of course, is the homeland, which I will never forget. Therefore, both citizenship and passport are Russian. Every day I read in the press that famous Russian artists live only on a modest meager pension. And the fact that Russian actors of the older generation cannot count on any additional dividends from their previous well-deserved works, despite the fact that films and performances with their participation are no less popular than 30-40 years ago. Naturally, this money is not enough for medicines, not for a living wage. And if it is impossible to change the law, then for such famous people it might be possible to establish a personal pension worthy of him? Without humiliating procedures for the pension fund, as they constantly demand from me with checks: is the person really alive or not? After all, these people can be counted on the fingers. And do not let them die in poverty and distress, as happened to many of them. X Fatal coincidences – Were you the first Soviet clown who was released abroad? – Yes, it was in 1956, when the Moscow Circus went to Warsaw for the festival of youth and students, where I performed as a young clown. We had a great success with the public. And, as they say, at the request of our comrades, our tour was extended for another month. With the Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard, I traveled all over the world. The impression, of course, is colossal: Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, New York, Vienna. What other theater with its troupe has visited as many countries as the Moscow Circus? Well, maybe only the Bolshoi Theatre. – Once you said that many of your visits to other countries were overshadowed by some kind of misunderstanding? – It was such a thing! When I spoke in Baku, Stalin died. Then the unspoken mourning continued for several months. Laughter was forbidden. But Baku is far from Moscow. The local circus director took a chance. True, he said: “Come on quietly. Not much humor!” The audience really took me with a bang. When I was supposed to perform in Monte Carlo and receive the Golden Clown, at that time the Soviet troops entered the territory of Poland, and the Polish orchestra did not play along with me in performances – the soundtrack was not turned on, the music was played differently, the illuminator did not illuminate me, but only dome or walls. And I couldn’t understand why? And he did not know at all that something had happened in the political arena of the world. But the audience supported me with their applause. She understood everything: I’m not a politician, I’m an artist. And in the evening after receiving the award, I was so moved by all this that I cried from resentment. Another case. We come to America, and there they kill Kennedy. Oswald is a former Belarusian citizen who previously lived in Minsk. So the Russians killed the President too. For a whole week we were not allowed to leave the hotel. We come to Cuba – we get into the blockade. Caribbean crisis! We have to leave, but they won’t let us out. Mikoyan flew in for negotiations with Fidel Castro and persuaded him to hand over the missiles. In general, there were many adventures. But there were plenty of pleasant meetings. It was in 1964 in Venice. Our circus worked then in Turin. And in one of the newspapers they read that Charlie Chaplin was resting in Venice. Well, the three of us (the director of the circus, the trainer Filatov and myself) went to his hotel, having agreed in advance to meet in order to invite the maestro to our performance. We sit and wait. Suddenly, Charlie Chaplin himself comes down the stairs in a white suit. We said hello and what is most interesting, we did not know English, and he did not speak a word of Russian. And yet we talked about something for half an hour and laughed a lot. We took a photo for memory. So I saw “live” and met the world-famous comedian Charlie Chaplin – the idol of my childhood. And later he sent a photo card with a dedicatory inscription, however, in English. Chaplin is like an icon for me. I still admire his unsurpassed talent to this day. Life also gave me meetings with such amazing people as Marcel Marceau, Josephine Becker and many other celebrities. — You took part in the International Festival of Circus Arts in Monte Carlo. How did you like his anniversary program? – I used to be invited by Prince Rainier of Monaco, and after his death, his children Prince Albert and Princess Stephanie invited me to the 30th festival as an honored guest and laureate of the Golden Clown of this prestigious festival in the world. This competition presented the latest achievements of circus art from all over the planet. I watched with great interest how two artists, American and Spanish, communicated, they were not so much talking as they were showing something to each other with gestures, sharing their experience. To see all these achievements, to observe the communication of the masters among themselves is very instructive for the youth. When we were students, we ran to the circus, all the time we studied with the masters, tried to repeat their numbers, tricks, reprises. Competed with each other, trying to do better. I am sure that any number in Monte Carlo could be the final of any circus premiere. The younger generation is the future of the circus — You, like no one else, know the talent and talent of artistic youth better, don’t you? — Many gifted children enter circus schools, but it is difficult to stay in this profession, because talent is not everything. Not many can withstand the rhythm and stress, because in the circus you have to work, even plow, I would say. However, if you want to become a professional, in any field you need to work tirelessly. Often, if the number does not turn out, circus artists do not sleep at night, they rehearse a lot in order to perform better tomorrow. For example, Russian artists work well in German circuses: clown Gagik Avetisyan, gymnast Yulia Urbanovich, trainer Yuri Volodchenkov, spouses Ekaterina Markevich and Anton Tarbeev-Glozman, artists Elena Shumskaya, Mikhail Usov, Sergey Timofeev, Viktor Minasov, Konstantin Muravyov, the Rokashkov troupe , Zhuravlya and other artists perform sincerely and cheerfully. And how many other equally talented young Russian artists work in other foreign circuses such as Roncalli, Du Soleil, Flick Flac, Krone, Knee, Roland Bush. What they do in the arena is great. But this is in the West, but what is the current situation with circus art in Russia? There is no affirmative answer to this question yet, because the Russian circus is still not in its best condition. Previously, the best numbers and programs were created in the system of the Russian State Circus. And now? Gone are the mass acrobatic numbers, the eccentric is disappearing. Where are the new clown names? I was told what kind of pennies the artists get on forced downtime. In the Russian newspaper Mir Circus I read: “To work in Korea, clowns, acrobats (Russian stick, trapeze, air flight, rubber) are required. Why not offer a job in Russia? Why today, despite the change of leadership, the Russian State Circus is not rushing like America, France, Germany or China? Yes, because they do not pay the artists the salary they deserve. In the West, fees are ten times higher. There was a time when the situation was simply catastrophic, when many leading actors, graduates of circus schools signed a contract immediately after graduation and went abroad. And people leave, to this day, who constantly, from morning to evening, nights and days, give all their strength to circus art, all their lives, in order to enter the arena and show what a person is capable of in life. On the one hand, it is nice to see the professional skills of the Russian circus school, on the other hand, it is bitter that this recognition for our artists is possible only abroad. Therefore, people who have complete power in Russia should pay more attention to the circus and its personnel system. – Something in your mood, Oleg Konstantinovich, is not at all birthday. is it so bad? After all, there is something good in the arena. What would you wish, for example, to young professional and amateur circus artists who are starting their careers? – I warned you not to bring up such topics! However, I never hid what I thought. Another question, I try not to spread too much out loud, I doubt that the words will change anything. I am a business person. I love what I do, but I’m tired of fighting against unprofessionalism, someone else’s stupidity. It’s just that when something good goes out of life, it’s always sad. Of course, there are also pleasant moments. I am proud that circus festivals are held in Russia and other CIS countries. For example, festivals of children’s circus groups on the basis of the Saratov Circus, in St. Petersburg, Vyborg, Izhevsk, Tula, Yekaterinburg, Ivanovo and other Russian cities. For example, Vladimir Spivakov’s charitable foundation invited amateur circus groups from all over Russia to Moscow. On Children’s Day, young tightrope walkers and jugglers, acrobats and eccentrics, clowns and illusionists, cyclists and animal trainers showed their skills in the circus performance “Sunny Beach of Hope”, held within the walls of the famous school of circus and variety arts. Mikhail Rumyantsev (Pencil), which I once graduated from. Among the participants of the festival were the leaders of folk groups, famous throughout Russia, who devoted their whole lives to the service of circus art, the education of professional artists. XX Master – golden hands – On the first floor of your house you showed me a workshop where you yourself make everything you need for performances. What interesting things have you done lately? – A hat for a magician, I have such a reprise. My old cylinder was worn out in order, it was necessary to come up with something else. So he conjured over a new headdress. I want it to be bright and eye-catching. Unfortunately, caps are also not eternal – I have already worn out about thirty. Now he made the eternal one – “metal” (laughs, showing the product with his face). Did you just make this hat yourself, or do you make all your props yourself? – All by myself! When you start ordering props on the side, people do not always understand what you want, they think that the conversation is about some kind of trinket. And for an artist, this is not a trinket, but an instrument of production. I am glad that I have a workshop. Now, if I think of something, I can, without disturbing anyone, go there at any time and work as much as I like. And if I catch fire, I can not eat and not sleep, only tinkering. The main thing is to be interesting. – Do you have any hobbies? – One of the famous actors said something like this: “I’m a happy person, because I’m doing what I love, and I’m still getting paid for it.” So our hobby and our profession merge somewhere. A hobby, in my opinion, is a kind of escape from something to something. And I just like doing props, plumbing and carpentry for my own pleasure, walking in nature, visiting markets, reading interesting books, watching good films. But can it really be called a hobby? Usually, while at home or on tour, Oleg Popov spends his day off not on the beach or outside the city, but … in the city dump, where he finds unusable wires, iron bars, pipes, aluminum sheets, or at the “flea market”, where he looks for antiques. Then he brings them to the circus or home to the workshop, where he turns all this “precious” goods into props or finds some unusual samovar or teapot, a water tap, cleans them to a shine – and into his own museum. Popov has golden hands: he is an electrician, a locksmith, and a carpenter. – Your love, Oleg Konstantinovich, is known for “flea markets”. What is the German “flomarkt” for you? — For me, not only the German “flomarkt”, but also all other markets are the golden Klondike. There I find everything that is useful to me for the production of this or that reprise. For example, he made a watch. He bent a checkered cap out of some piece of iron, attached his photo, put in a clock mechanism … And you know, they walk wonderfully! The market is the place where you can meet friends, countrymen, buddies, work colleagues. At the flea market, you can find rare antiques, as well as dictionaries or encyclopedias. For collectors of postcards, rare records and audio cassettes with recordings of the voices of stars. The theme of the Second World War is solidly presented on the German “flomarkts”: helmets of Wehrmacht soldiers, knives, officer’s daggers, belts, badges – everything that can replenish the collector’s funds. – Do you ever take a break? – I, a lion according to the horoscope – 80 years old … – I don’t believe it! .. “And I don’t believe, that’s why I never rest. And in order to lie down to sleep during the day – yes, for nothing! Life is so good that I can’t steal my days and hours. I go to bed very late and get up very early, because I need to walk Miracle (dog). Rest is not for me. – The history of world circus art probably has few cases when artists with a name, at that age, would continue to actively enter the arena without lowering the high bar? “It all depends on a lot of circumstances. First, from character. Personally, for me, life without any business is impossible. Fortunately, my fate turned out to be that even at a respectable age I have a job, a huge number of cases, for which sometimes 24 hours are not enough for me. Secondly, the love of art gives incredible energy, the desire to realize the seemingly impossible. I want to say that, of course, health is necessary for all this. I think I will compete as long as my health allows and I will be in proper shape. I really love my profession, I value it. XX “Family Party” … … as the hero of the occasion dubbed it, will be held in the Nuremberg restaurant “Sapphire”, which is famous for its national cuisine. Of course, the celebration will begin by candlelight, during the breaks of which congratulations will be heard in honor of the hero of the day. “The guests of this evening,” says the hero of the day, “will be offered okroshka, Russian borscht and dumplings, manti and shish kebab, as well as dishes of other national cuisines. – Among the invited guests there will be people of different nationalities: relatives, friends, work colleagues – tried and tested by time. Neatly and tastefully laid tables will pleasantly arrange those present for easy conversations and contacts, where guests will sing, dance, take pictures as a keepsake. Thinking that everything will be oh, kay! – What do you dream about today, I asked the hero of the day in parting? Today I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, thank you, Lord, I lived to be 80. On the other hand, it seems like it’s time to relax … But I’m not going to retire. While I can still work, I have to work. Everything that could be taken from life, I received. I have no sediment that I did something wrong. You need to be an optimist, be able to enjoy life and bless God, fate for every given day, for a ray of sunshine, for a breath of air, for the flowers that are on the table, for the opportunity to go to the arena and delight the audience. After all, I still need the public. The arms and legs move, the head works, why not? But as soon as I feel that the public no longer needs me, then, of course, I will leave. I am happy for Oleg Popov, who has found a second home in Germany, new fans and faithful wife Gabrielle. And it’s a shame for the Russians, who were deprived of the opportunity to see him on the arena, on stage. Indeed, for the inhabitants of the former USSR, Oleg Popov was a symbol of joy and kindness. And all the same – for the whole world he will forever remain a Russian clown, a Russian artist. To list all his titles and awards, a separate article is not enough. But it is enough to pronounce the cherished name: “Oleg Popov” to make the heart of an admirer of his art beat enthusiastically. That name alone says it all. Happy anniversary, Oleg Konstantinovich! Good luck and health to you, our beloved solar clown! Bring people joy, smiles and laughter just as you have brought them all these years.

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