Hrachia Ghaplanian was among the famous theater directors of Soviet Armenia. The Dramatic Theater of Yerevan has been posthumously named after him.
He was born on November 14, 1923, in the village of Gargar, in Lori. His theatrical activity started at the age of twelve, in 1935, at the Theater of the Young Spectator in Yerevan. He graduated from the Institute of Art and Theater of the Armenian capital in 1940.
He participated in World War II, where he was gravely wounded, but he returned to the battlefront until 1945. He earned various military decorations and medals. Back in Yerevan, he continued working as an actor until 1950. He studied at the Art Theater of Moscow in 1950-1952.
Afterwards, he left his activity on the stage to work behind the stage. He was the main director of the Theater of the Young Spectator (1953–1956 and 1959-1962), the Gabriel Sundukian Academic Theater (1956-1959), and the Alexander Spentiarian Opera and Ballet Theater (1962-1965). He also staged productions in several theaters of Moscow.
He was the president of the Theatrical Workers Union of Armenia from 1966-1988. He founded the Dramatic Theater of Yerevan and taught at the Institute of Art and Theater. He staged well-known works of Armenian, Russian, and international playwrights, and also arranged works for theater.
He earned a string of accolades: Artist Emeritus of Armenia (1954), Emeritus Worker of Art of Armenia (1961), and Popular Artist of Armenia (1966), followed by the title of Popular Artist of the Soviet Union (1971). He won the State Prize of Armenia twice (1975 and 1979), as well as the State Prize of the Soviet Union (1978).
Hrachia Ghaplanian passed away on August 17, 1988, in Yerevan. He is buried at the Komitas Pantheon.