Letter 3347

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 11/23 September 1887
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. 402–403
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIV (1974), p. 211–212

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
11 сентября

Голубушка Эмилия Карловна!

Я боюсь за дуэтик Ваш с Княгиней (стр[аницы] 354 и 355) и подумываю, не выкинуть ли его? Он на спевке звучал скверно. Выкинуть его очень легко, т. е. после слов «напьюсь и я воды с тобой» дать в оркестре два такта следующего содержания:

3347 ex1.jpg

а далее идёт: «пей, голубка, пей до дна» и т. д. Но тогда успеет ли Княгиня зачерпнуть воды, налить яд и подать Куме? Может быть, Княгиня могла бы всё это проделать при словах: «и пьют его в лихих напастях» и т. д.

Что Вы думаете об этом? При случае спросите Направника! Что он скажет? А я бы непрочь выкинуть.

Целую ручки,

П. Чайковский

11 September

Golubushka Emiliya Karlovna!

I am worried about the short duet between you and the Princess (pp. 354 and 355) and am considering whether it might not be better to discard it [1]. At the preliminary rehearsal it sounded quite horrid [2]. It would be very easy to discard it, i.e. after the words: "I shall have a drink of water with you", one could insert two bars for the orchestra as follows:

3347 ex1.jpg

and after that comes: "drink, my dear, drink it to the dregs" etc. But in that case would the Princess have enough time to ladle the water into the cup, pour poison into it, and offer it to Kuma? Perhaps the Princess could manage to do all this at the same time as she sings: "and it is drunk during evil disasters" etc.

What do you think about this? When you have the opportunity do ask Nápravník! I wonder what he'll say? I would be quite willing to discard it.

I kiss your hands,

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. Tchaikovsky did in fact remove the duet between Kuma/Nastasya and the Princess from Act IV of The Enchantress, which Eduard Nápravník in general considered to be too long. In her reply of 17/29 September 1887 Emiliya Pavlovskaya told Tchaikovsky that she was happy for this duet to be cut, and that Mariya Slavina (who was to sing the Princess) also agreed to this modification. Pavlovskaya's reply has been published in Чайковский на московской сцене (1940), p. 403–404.
  2. The preliminary rehearsal (without orchestra) of The Enchantress had taken place at the Saint Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre on 7/19 September 1887. Tchaikovsky attended this rehearsal and consulted with the singers and Nápravník about necessary cuts and modifications to the opera.