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Oleg Popov: Two guiding stars of the Solar clown

Sunny clown Oleg Popov was known and loved all over the world. It seemed that there was no person more positive and cheerful. He had everything in his life: fame, recognition, financial well-being, and personal happiness.British Queen called him Sunny the clown, and Charlie Chaplin was on his knees in front of the talent of the Master. It just so happened that the solar clown he was widowed. And then fate gave him a meeting with a woman who became for him a sunset happiness.

First love


They met at the circus where they both worked. Only Alexander Reslavsky artist was not. She played the violin in a circus band. An incredible beauty with gorgeous black hair. She sat in the orchestra to the left of the conductor and often distracted the attention of the audience.

Many circus performers were not averse to courting the beauty, but no one dared to approach, it was for some reason terrible to be refused. One of the young clowns was particularly zealous. All he said was that he wanted to ask a beautiful violinist out on a date, but he didn’t know how. Oleg Popov advised him to buy ice cream and give it to the beauty, so that at least he would pay attention to himself. But the clown was indignant: how it is-to give ice cream, it is not respectable and it is not necessary at all.

The young clown Popov decided to try his luck. I bought an ice cream and ceremoniously presented it to Alexandra. And he asked me out on a date. In 1952, Alexandra Ryslavskaya became the wife of Oleg Popov, and in 1953 the couple had an only daughter, Olga.

Alexandra always accompanied her husband on tour. In his youth, he invented special musical reprises for her, so that his beloved Sanya, as he called her, could enter the arena with him.

Only once, in 1990, when Oleg Popov signed a contract for a foreign tour, she said that she would not go with him, because she was not feeling well. He left, and their daughter was left with the Sleigh. He called home every day and Alexandra Ilyinichna assured him that she was all right, she was at the doctor, the situation was under control. Only my daughter told me about the terrible diagnosis that the doctors made for my mother. She did not wait for her husband from the tour, died of cancer.

The telegram with the terrible news was brought to him during the interval. Oleg Popov went to the arena, knowing that his favorite Sled is no longer there. He was working as usual, and the audience was laughing and tears were rolling down his cheeks. He couldn’t help it.

When the clown told the impresario that he had to go to Russia, he just fell on his knees in front of Oleg Konstantinovich: all the tickets were sold out, there was no replacement for him. And Oleg Popov made probably the most difficult decision in his life: he stayed to work.

Only in the evening after the performance, he gathered all his colleagues in the arena. On the side of the boat, he placed glasses of red wine, which Sanya loved so much, spread out simple food, and on the arena, he laid out the name of his favorite from small round candles. He wasn’t the only one crying that night. His colleagues who knew Alexandra Ilinichna wept with him. There are no words that can comfort a person who has lost forever a loved one with whom he lived for 38 years.
Mature happiness

In 1991, at a performance in Amsterdam, Oleg Popov noticed a girl standing in the aisle. She came to Amsterdam to see the dzhigits, but there were no tickets and she was allowed to stand. He brought a chair for her. And after the performance, Gabrielle went over to thank him for taking part. In response, he asked for her phone number. As it turned out, this was fate. Soon he needed Gabrielle’s help. The impresario who organized the tour disappeared with the money.

What to do and where to go in an unfamiliar country, Sunny clown did not know. And called the girl with a request for help. She invited the artist to live with her in a large house that she shared with her brother and sister.
Oleg Popov gratefully accepted her invitation. She didn’t know Russian, he didn’t speak German, and they communicated using dictionaries. Russian Russian was his, and German Russian was hers. But soon Gabirel tolerably well, began to speak in Russian, but Oleg Popov, the German never learned.

There was first a mutual sympathy between them, and then a deeper feeling. They were not confused by the age difference, Gabi, as Oleg Konstantinovich called her, stoically endured the opposition of her family.

She fell under the charm of an amazing man and did not feel that he was 32 years older than her. He was always full of strength, energy, new ideas and aspirations. It was Gaby who brought him the two rings, making it clear that they needed to formalize their relationship. Oleg Popov was happy to call Gabriela Lehman his legal wife. They signed on September 1, 1991.

Gabriela became Oleg Konstantinovich’s wife, assistant, producer, and even partner in the arena. She carefully learned from her husband the skills of a circus performer and was happy to be near him all the time. And he was just happy.

He has not visited Russia for almost 25 years. Old grievances weighed heavily on my soul. At the time, he was not needed by the country that he represented abroad.

In June 2015, for the first time after a long break, he stood in the arena of the Sochi circus and could not hold back tears. The audience met the Great Solar clown standing up.

On November 2, 2016, he died in Rostov-on-don, where he was on tour. For a long time, Gaby couldn’t accept the bitterness of her loss. And still on the table in her house is the cap of her favorite clown.


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