Metaksya Simonyan turns 85

People’s Artist of the USSR and the ASSR, recipient of the USSR State Prize, Metaksya Simonyan is one of the great Armenian actors of the 20th century who formed the process and the logic of affirmations of art of an entire era, as well as shaped traditions that served as lessons for newcomers.

There have been many Armenian actressses in the history of Armenian theater and many names have been inframed in our minds, including Arusyak Papazyan and Siranush, Azniv Hrachya and Arus Voskanyan, Jasmin and Satenik Adamyan, Olga Gulazyan and Hasmik, Arus Asryan and Varduhi Varderesyan. Metaksya Simonyan is one of these actresses who came on to the scene after ending her first course on acting at the theater institute in 1948. Her first role was Anani in G. Sundukyan’s comedy “Another Victim” with Avet Avetisyan and Olga Gulazyan. This performance was a unique test that she “passed” very successfully. A year later, she played the role of Nina in Lermontov’s drama called “Masquerade”. In this performance with Vahram Papazyan, Vagharsh Vagharshyan and Hrachya Nersisyan, she made the most demanding theater critics give a high evaluation of her performance, charmed them with her sincerity and straightforwardness, deep dramatism, emphases of psychology and lyricism. These are attributes that showed her character and set her aside in the masquerade of different faces…There had never been serious conversations regarding the role of Nina in Russian or Armenian theaters. The character had never been viewed as intricately woven, but Metaksya Simonyan interpreted the role as a hero that became the center of all events and contributed to the tragedy of the plot.

The role of Nina was followed by new and interesting roles that shaped a brilliant notion of the artist’s preferences and how far she could go in acting. Simonyan played Desdemona, Cordelia, Juliet in Shakespeare’s “Othello”, “King Lire” and “Romeo and Juliet”, Nuard, Cleopatra in Nairi Zaryan’s “Ara the Beautiful” and “Artavazd and Cleopatra”, Susan, Shushanik in Shirvanzade’s “Honor” and “Chaos”, as well as a number of other characters in Armenian, Russian and foreign theaters.

Simonyan went from comedies to tragedies, from light, delicate characters to multi-layered and sometimes paradoxical images. “Don’t cause a woman pain. She is beautiful, isn’t she?” this is how academician Levon Hakhverdyan described the main topic of Metaksya Simonyan, perceiving and presenting the ideological sub-layer of all heroes. This is sharp, but not complete.

Metaksya Simonyan wasn’t just the defender of beautiful women’s cause since her heroes were powerful individuals, women with a great duty for the state and the homeland, as well as courageous individuals. Nuard, Parandzem, Cleopatra and Margarit Samsonyan represented different periods of history. They had their disputes and revolts, as well as faith. Whereas almost all characters were soft and light, many roles in Russian and European plays had a certain tragedy. Desdemona, Juliet and Cordelia in Shakespeare’s tragedies, Nastasia Filipovna in Dostoyevsky’s “The Stupid”, Virgina Wolf and other characters were expressions of the powerful actress’s temperament.

The actress also starred in films, keeping viewers at the edge of their seats with her charm and delicacies of performance.

Levon Mutafyan

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