Letter 2708

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 9/21 May 1885
Addressed to Emiliya Pavlovskaya
Where written Maydanovo
Language Russian
Autograph Location Moscow (Russia): Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum (Pavlovskaya collection)
Publication Чайковский на Московской сцене (1940), p. 343–344
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIII (1971), p. 84–85

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
9 мая 1885

Дорогая Эмилия Карловна!

Ну, не курьёзны ли все эти qui pro quo, которые случаются одно за другим по поводу моего стремления повидаться с Вами! Вы не только удивитесь, но, может быть, и рассердитесь за то, что, пробыв в Петербурге 4 суток, я не догадался зайти к Вам и справиться, уехали ли Вы в Ревель. Будучи вполне убеждён, что Вас в Петербурге нет, я и не ходил на Офицерскую, а уезжая, поручил брату Модесту навестить Вас после 8 мая и передать моё письмецо. Возвратившись же сюда, нахожу Ваше письмо, в коём Вы извещаете, что в Ревель не поедете.

Не буду Вам передавать, как я злился на себя за свою недогадливость, а на судьбу за то, что она точно в насмешку устраивает такие курьёзные недоразумения. Ничего не поделаешь! Видно, до осени не удастся Вас видеть, ибо весь этот месяц я просижу в Москве (кроме 19, 20 и 21, которые проведу в Смоленске) на Консерваторских экзаменах. По крайней мере дайте мне знать, не будете ли Вы проезжать через Москву на юг! Я хоть выеду на вокзал приветствовать Вас!

Спасибо Вам, дорогая, добрейшая, за Ваше письмо-monstre по поводу Чародейки. Всё, что Вы говорите, чрезвычайно метко и верно и, конечно, будет принято во внимание.

Благодарю Вас всячески за Татьяну. Как я обязан Вам, благодетельница!

Я знал, что «Черевички» не пойдут в Петербурге, да и не просил и не буду просить ставить их в будущем году. Невозможно требовать, чтобы каждую мою оперу сейчас же ставили. Я рад и тому, что в Москве их поставят.

Целую крепко Ваши ручки.
Ваш, П. Чайковский

Княжич будет тенор.

9 May 1885

Well, I must say that all these quid pro quo which are occurring one after the other as a result of my striving to see you are very curious indeed![1] You will not only be surprised but perhaps even angry with me, because, despite having stayed in Petersburg for 4 days, I did not have the sense to drop in at your house and enquire whether you had left for Reval. Being absolutely convinced that you were not in Petersburg, I didn't even go to Ofitserskaya [Street]. Instead, before leaving, I requested my brother Modest to call on you after 8 May and hand over my little letter [2]. When I got back here, though, I found your letter informing me that you would not be going to Reval [3].

I shall not describe to you how angry I was with myself for being so slow-witted, as well as with Fate for setting up these curious misunderstandings just as if it wanted to mock us. It can't be helped! It seems that I shall not be able to see you until the autumn, since I shall have to stay put in Moscow during this whole month (except for the 19th, 20th, and 21st, which I shall spend in Smolensk) in order to sit in on the Conservatory exams. Let me at least know whether you will be travelling to the south via Moscow! I could then at least come to greet you at the station!

Thank you, my dear and most kind friend, for your monster letter with regard to the Enchantress [4]. Everything that you say is exceedingly apt and true, and will of course be taken into consideration.

I thank you in every way possible for Tatyana. How indebted I am to you, my benefactress![5]

I knew already that Cherevichki would not be staged in Petersburg — in fact, I hadn't even asked (and am not going to ask) for this opera to be produced this year. It is impossible to demand that every one of my operas should be staged immediately. Seeing them staged in Moscow also makes me glad after all.

I kiss your hands warmly.
Yours, P. Tchaikovsky

The prince's son shall be a tenor [6].

Notes and References

  1. By "quid pro quo" (Latin: something for something; tit for tat) Tchaikovsky is referring to the way that a number of his and Pavlovskaya's recent letters had crossed in the post. Thus, in a letter of 25 April/7 May 1885 she had informed him that she would be away from Saint Petersburg from 1/13 to 8/20 May. A few days later, however, Pavlovskaya wrote again to say that she would not be leaving the imperial capital after all, but this letter did not reach Tchaikovsky at Maydanovo, since he had left his house on 3/15 May for a brief visit to Saint Petersburg. Thinking that Pavlovskaya was not in town, Tchaikovsky wrote to her on 7/19 May (letter 2705) expressing his regret that he had not been able to see her and saying that his brother Modest would hand over the letter to her upon her return.
  2. Letter 2705 to Emiliya Pavlovskaya of 7/19 May 1885.
  3. Pavlovskaya's letter (written no later than 7/19 May 1885) has been published in Чайковский на московской сцене (1940), p. 341–342.
  4. Pavlovskaya's lengthy letter of 25 April/7 May 1885 in which she reflected on the figure of Nastasya in Ippolit Shpazhinsky's play The Enchantress and made a number of suggestions as to how her character should be changed in the libretto which Shpazhinsky was drawing up for Tchaikovsky. Pavlovskaya's letter is included in Чайковский на московской сцене (1940), p. 335–340.
  5. In her shorter letter (dated no later than 7/19 May 1885) Pavlovskaya had written about the spectacular success of Yevgeny Onegin at the Saint Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre (23 performances had been given in the course of just one season). Pavlovskaya's interpretation of Tatyana had been widely acclaimed.
  6. At the end of her shorter letter (dated no later than 7/19 May 1885) Pavlovskaya had asked whether the prince's son in the opera The Enchantress would be a tenor or a baritone role. Tchaikovsky wrote this note upside down on the first page of the letter.