Letter 2649

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 26 January/7 February 1885
Addressed to Emiliya Pavlovskaya
Where written Moscow
Language Russian
Autograph Location Moscow (Russia): Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum (Pavlovskaya collection)
Publication Советская музыка (1934), No. 8, p. 63 (abridged)
Чайковский на Московской сцене (1940), p. 321–322
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIII (1971), p. 28–29.

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
26 янв[аря] 1885 г[ода]

Дорогая, милая Эмилия Карловна!

Спасибо Вам за хорошие известия. Радуюсь сочувствию Государя к моей музыке и не менее того радуюсь его вниманию к благодетельнице. Какая Вы добрая и хорошая, что не поленились написать мне. Если бы я мог сердиться на Вас, то, пожалуй, слегка рассердился бы на ту часть Вашего письма, где Вы советуете мне ухаживать за разгневанным Мазепой и искать свидания с Корсовым. Я умею быть благодарным, но никогда в жизни ни в ком не заискивал и заискивать не буду. Если Корсов будет хорошо исполнять роль Мазепы, то буду питать к нему в душе благодарность, — а не будет, так Господь с ним.

У меня идут деятельные переговоры с Шпажинским насчёт либретто. Сейчас еду к нему для подробной беседы о будущей опере. Что Вы скажете насчёт Чародейки? Я её не видел, но прочёл и нахожу, что для Вас там чудесная роль.

Кажется, я на днях кончу дело о найме или даже покупке небольшого дома, в коём намерен провести остаток дней своих. Весьма может статься, что на время, пока мне будут его устраивать, я поеду в Крым. Если вздумаете, добрейшая моя благодетельница, написать мне, адресуйте: Москва, музык[альный] магаз[ин] Юргенсона. А может быть, я скоро Вас увижу.

Целую крепко, крепко Вашу ручку. Милому Серг[ею] Евгр[афовичу] мой дружеский привет.

Ваш П. Чайковский

Забыл № дома и адресую в театр.

26 January 1885

Dear, sweet Emiliya Karlovna!

Thank you for the good news. I am glad at the Sovereign's sympathy for my music, and I am no less glad at the attention which he showed to my benefactress [1]. How kind and good of you not to have been too lazy to write to me. If I were capable of being angry with you, then I might perhaps get slightly angry about that part of your letter in which you advise me to make up to the infuriated Mazepa and to seek a meeting with Korsov [2]. I know how to be grateful, but never in my life have I sought to ingratiate myself with anyone, nor will I ever do so in future. If Korsov performs the role of Mazepa well, then I shall inwardly be grateful to him, but if he doesn't, good luck to him.

I am conducting some lively negotiations with Shpazhinsky regarding a libretto. I'm going off to see him now for a detailed discussion about a future opera. What would you say about The Enchantress? I haven't seen the play, but I have read it and I think there is a wonderful role for you in it.

I think that very soon I shall have settled the matter of renting or even buying a small house in which I intend to spend the rest of my life [3]. It is very likely that while this house is being fixed up for me, I shall go to the Crimea. If you should wish to write to me, my most kind benefactress, please use this address: Moscow, Jurgenson's music store. But maybe I shall see you soon anyway.

I kiss your hand very warmly. Give my friendly greetings to dear Sergey Yevgrafovich [4].

Yours, P. Tchaikovsky

I've forgotten your house number, so I am addressing this to the theatre.

Notes and References

  1. In a letter dated 9/21 January 1885 Emiliya Pavlovskaya had written to Tchaikovsky that Alexander III had attended the previous evening's performance of Yevgeny Onegin at the Saint Petersburg Bolshoi (Kamenny) Theatre. She recounted how the tsar had invited her to his box after the end of Act I and had spoken to her in glowing terms about her performance as Tatyana, as well as describing Tchaikovsky's music as "enchanting". Upon conclusion of the whole performance the Tsar had also asked the conductor, Eduard Nápravník, to come up to his box. Pavlovskaya's letter has been published in Чайковский на московской сцене (1940), p. 319–321. Tchaikovsky frequently refers to Pavlovskaya as "my benefactress" in his letters to her, partly because he was grateful to her for her enthusiastic attitude to Mazepa, in which she had created the role of Mariya at the opera's premiere in Moscow the previous year.
  2. In her letter of 9/21 January 1885 Pavlovskaya had mentioned that the bass Bogomir Korsov (who had created the title-role in Mazepa at the opera's premiere) had come to Saint Petersburg and asked her to sing in Mazepa with him. She had explained that another soprano, Mariya Andriyanovna Sionitskaya (b. 1863), was due to sing in the next performance of the opera at the Saint Petersburg Bolshoi (Kamenny) Theatre, but suggested that Korsov ask the conductor, Nápravník, who might be able to use his influence to change the cast.
  3. For a while Tchaikovsky was considering buying a house near Zvenigorod, just outside Moscow, but after inspecting the premises he changed his mind and decided instead to rent a house in the village of Maydanovo, near Klin. He moved to this new house in February 1885.
  4. Emiliya Pavlovskaya's husband, Sergey Yevgrafovich Pavlovsky (1846–1915), was also a singer and a member of the Saint Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre's troupe.