Vladimir Ivanovich Nemirovich-Danchenko was born in 1859 in Russia to a military family; he was an inveterate gambler who supported himself, by and large, with his pen: he worked as a war correspondent, novelist, art critic, playwright and also as an actor. In 1897 he had a meeting which changed his life: at the Slavyansky Bazaar restaurant in Moscow he had lunch with Constantin Stanislavsky; 18 hours later the meeting concluded at the Stanislavsky estate in a village near the capital. The historic meeting consolidated a visionary goal that the two men shared: to create a modern performing arts centre. Just over a year later, the Moscow Art Theatre was founded. Both men devoted much of the rest of their lives to this project. Because of his work on the process of acting, Stanislavsky is the better-known in the west today, but Nemirovich-Danchenko was the genius behind the repertoire, and was instrumental in bringing the works of such greats as Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy to the Theatre's stage.

Nemirovich-Danchenko had time for other projects as well. He founded a music studio in 1919 which became the Opera Studio in 1926, and the Moscow Art Theatre School in 1943. With the Opera Studio he was one of the first producers to use singing actors in famous productions such as a version of Carmen called "Carmencita and the Soldier" and Shostakovich's "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk". Nemirovich-Danchenko died in 1943, but his name, and that of his famous collaborator, lives on in Moscow's Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre.

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