Tchaikovsky Research

Prague (Praha) is the capital and largest city of Czechia, situated on the River Vltava in central Bohemia.

During Tchaikovsky's lifetime it was part of the Austrian crownland of Bohemia, and part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1867.

Tchaikovsky in Prague

The composer paid three visits to Prague:

From Until Notes
31 January/12 February 1888 10/22 February 1888 To rehearse and conduct two concerts of his own works (see below). On his arrival he was given a civic reception, and there were events held in his honour at the Artists' Forum (Umělecká beseda) (1/13 February), at the Russian Club (4/16 February). the Students' Society (4/16 February), the Civic Forum (Měšťanská beseda) (4/16 February). He also spent a great deal of time with the composer Antonín Dvořák, and met other Czech musicians and dignitaries.
15/27 November 1888 25 November/7 December 1888 For further conducting engagements, including the Czech premiere of the opera Yevgeny Onegin (see below).
30 September/12 October 1892 1/13 October 1892 To attend the Czech premiere of the opera The Queen of Spades at the National Theatre, conducted by Adolf Čech. "It passed off very well, and the ovations were enthusiastic" [1].


Tchaikovsky's conducting schedule was as follows:

7/19 February 1888 The second grand concert of the Society of Artists (Umělecká beseda) at the Rudolfinum, including the overture-fantasia Romeo and Juliet, the Piano Concerto No. 1 (soloist Aleksandr Ziloti), the Elegy from the Suite No. 3, the Violin Concerto (soloist Karel Halíř), and the overture The Year 1812. "Generally this has been one of the most important days of my life. I'm very much in love with these good Czechs" [2].
9/21 February 1888 A concert at the National Theatre (Národní Divadlo), featuring the Theme with Variations from the Suite No. 3; the piano pieces Barcarolle (No. 6 from The Seasons) and Nocturne (No. 1 of the Two Pieces, Op. 10), with soloist Aleksandr Ziloti, who also performed Paul Pabst's fantasia on themes from Yevgeny Onegin; the overture The Year 1812, and the Serenade for String Orchestra. The concert concluded with a staged performance of Act II of the ballet Swan Lake (for the first time outside Russia), conducted by Adolf Čech [3]. "Enormous success... A moment of absolute happiness. But just a moment..." [4].
18/30 November 1888 A "grand concert" of Tchaikovsky's own works, comprising the Symphony No. 5 and Piano Concerto No. 2 (pianist: Vasily Sapelnikov); Joan's Aria from The Maid of Orleans (soloist: Olga Paršová); the Andante cantabile from String Quartet No. 1 (presumably in Tchaikovsky's arrangement for string orchestra); an unspecified Romance sans paroles and Valse for piano (soloist: Vasily Sapelnikov); the songs Why? (No. 5 of the Six Romances, Op. 6), I'll Tell You Nothing [5] and O, If Only You Knew (Nos. 2 and 3 of the Twelve Romances, Op. 60) (soloist: Olga Paršová); and the overture-fantasia The Year 1812[6].
24 November/6 December 1888 A production of Yevgeny Onegin at the National Theatre (for the first time outside Russia) in a Czech translation by Marie Červinková-Riegrová. Afterwards the composer was met with "an unending series of the most enthusiastic ovations. The performance was very good, particularly the singer who performed the role of Tatyana , whom I liked very much" [7]. The cast comprised: Ema Maislerová (Larina), Berta Foerstrová-Lautererová (Tatyana), Marie Panznerová (Olga), Betty Fibichová (Filippyevna), Bohumil Benoni (Onegin), Vladislav Florjanský (Lensky), František Hynek (Prince Gremin), Václav Viktorin (Captain), Emanuel Kroupa (Zaretsky), and Adolf Krössing (Triquet), with choreography by Augustin Berger [8].


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Notes and References

  1. Letter 4781 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 7/19 October 1892.
  2. Diary entry for 7/19 February 1888.
  3. See:
  4. Diary entry for 8/20 February 1888.
  5. The Czech title of this title on the concert programme was given only as "Mlčenlivost", which in English would be equivalent to 'taciturnity' or 'confidentiality'; the identification with the song I'll Tell You Nothing is therefore somewhat conjectural.
  6. See:
  7. Letter 3731 to Nadezhda von Meck, 26 November/8 December 1888. Tatyana was performed by Berta Foerstrová-Lautererová.
  8. See: