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On July 2, at the age of 86, the famous actor, singer and director, artistic director of the Romen Theater Nikolai Slichenko passed away. He was the only gypsy artist to be awarded the title of People's Artist of the USSR. He played most of his roles on the theater stage, but millions of viewers will remember him in the image of Nazar Duma's assistant Petri Bessarabets from the film "Wedding in Malinovka". For what Leonid Brezhnev appreciated the artist and why abroad he was called a legendary gypsy - further in the review.
Nikolai Slichenko was born in 1934 in the Belgorod region into a gypsy family. His childhood years were the most difficult. During the war, his father was killed right in front of his eyes, and later many of his other relatives were killed. Later Nikolai recalled: "".
After the war, the family settled in the Voronezh region, where Nikolai worked on a collective farm along with adults. Once someone told Nikolai that there was a gypsy music and drama theater "Romen" in Moscow, and since then he began to dream of a stage. At the age of 16, he went to the capital, and his dream came true - he was accepted into the first and only gypsy theater in the world. Then he could not imagine that he would spend most of his life on this stage.
Soul of "Romen" and the star of "Weddings in Malinovka"
At first, he performed only in the crowd, but very soon Nikolai Slichenko became the soul of this theater. In just a month, he learned all the male roles in the productions and waited for him to be given the opportunity to show himself. Famous Gypsy actors of the older generation became his mentors: Lyalya Chernaya, I. Rom-Lebedev, I. Khrustalev and others. Thanks to their support, at the age of 18, he got his first major role in the theater. Actor Sergei Shishkov, at his request, pretended to be sick, and no one except Nikolai knew his role by heart, and the young man was finally allowed to play the main character.
At the age of 24, Nikolai played his first film role - it was a gypsy in the Soviet-Yugoslav film "Oleko Dundich". After that, filmmakers drew attention to him and began to offer new roles. At the age of 33, all-Union popularity came to the actor after the role of the red cavalryman Petri Bessarabets in The Wedding in Malinovka. In this film, he showed himself not only as a wonderful actor, but also as a singer who performed several songs. The composition "The horse walked in the wild" is probably remembered by millions of viewers.
In the early 1970s. Slichenko entered the Higher Directing Courses of GITIS, and in the late 1970s. became the chief director and artistic director of the "Romen" theater. The artist wrote in his book of memoirs: "".
“Romain” was his life's work, his vocation, service and mission. About the theater Slichenko wrote: "". In the late 1970s. on the initiative of Slichenko, a studio was opened in "Gnesinka", which was engaged in the preparation of artists for his theater, Nikolai himself was engaged in teaching.
Favorite singer of Brezhnev
Nikolai became famous not only as an actor and director, but also as a singer - he excellently performed gypsy and Russian romances and pop songs. His popularity as a performer of romances was even greater than the fame of the actor. The audience cried at his concerts. Slichenko was often invited to television, where he participated in holiday concerts and the Blue Light.They say he was Leonid Brezhnev's favorite singer and once even canceled the tour when the secretary general expressed a desire to listen to him at a national concert.
In 1981 Nikolai Slichenko was awarded the title of People's Artist of the USSR - the first and only of all gypsy actors. Many pop stars could envy his popularity. The artist recalled: "". He was well known not only at home, but also abroad - he went on tour to the USA, France, Great Britain. The foreign press called Slichenko a “legendary gypsy”.
In May of this year, the artist was admitted to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with several serious illnesses. Later he was transferred to intensive care. On July 2, 2021, Nikolai Slichenko passed away at the age of 87. Artistic director of the theater "School of the modern play" Joseph Raikhelgauz said about him: "". And the singer Lev Leshchenko added: "".
The artist had crowds of fans, one famous opera prima said that she was ready to give her life for his love, but he was a one-man woman and lived with his wife for more than half a century: Nikolay Slichenko and Tamilla Agamirova.
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