Letter 1956

Date 6/18 February 1882
Addressed to Sergey Flerov
Where written Rome
Language Russian
Autograph Location Moscow: Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum
Publication Чайковский на Московской сцене (1940), p. 464
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XI (1966), p. 53

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
18 февр[аля]

Добрейший Сергей Васильевич!

Представление в «Apollo» отменено по случаю болезни тенора. Отложим, следовательно, посещение этого театра до будущей недели.

Завтра утром я зайду к Вам.

Ваш, П. Чайковский

18 February

The performance at the Apollo has been cancelled due to the tenor being ill [1]. Let us therefore defer our visit to this theatre until next week.

I shall call on you tomorrow morning [2].

Yours, P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. The Teatro Apollo (previously known as Teatro Torre di Nona) was the largest opera-house in Rome at the time and had staged the premieres of Verdi's Il trovatore (1853) and Un ballo in maschera (1859). In fact it seems that the production in question was cancelled not due to the indisposition of the tenor, but due to financial difficulties of the opera company — see П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XI (1966), p. 53.
  2. Tchaikovsky first met Sergey Flerov in February 1882 during his stay in Rome. In a letter to Pyotr Jurgenson written the previous day (see Letter 1955), Tchaikovsky had observed: "Flerov is, I think, a very kind and nice person, but ... I am escaping to Naples to get away from him. Yesterday he sat at my place from five in the afternoon until midnight!!! There was a moment when I wanted to murder him — namely, when he started pestering me with questions as to what scenes, what images I had floating in my imagination when I wrote this or that! Oh, [to Hell] with him! He is learned, well-read, but rather stupid and unctuous". Three days after writing the above letter to Flerov, Tchaikovsky left Rome and went to Naples, so it seems that he had never intended to keep his promise of going to the Teatro Apollo with him. In an article "A Letter from Italy", published in the 17 February 1882 [O.S.] issue of the Moscow Register, Flerov informed his readers how Tchaikovsky had won some pickles at a lottery held on the Piazza Navona. Jurgenson sent this article to Tchaikovsky in Naples, and the latter wrote furiously to his publisher on 2/14 March (Letter 1983): "Have you ever come across someone more loathsome and stupid than this Flerov? The excerpt from the Moscow Register which you sent the other day has awakened my rage. Not only did he completely spoil my last days in Rome — no, he still feels he has to persecute me now that I escaped to Naples to get away from him. No dirtier trick could possibly be played on me than to exhibit me before the public, and what is more in the guise of a person who has won some pickles (!!!) and the next day goes and assures Flerov that they are wonderful [...] Can this interest anyone at all?! Oh, to Hell with it!" — note based on information provided by Vasily Kiselev in Чайковский на московской сцене (1940), p. 465.