Letter 52

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Date autumn 1854
Addressed to Viktor Olkhovsky
Where written Saint Petersburg
Language Russian
Autograph Location unknown
Publication Вечерняя красная газета (29 May 1933)
Вечерняя Москва (22 August 1936)
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 54–55

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Brett Langston
Милостливый государь Виктор Иванович!

Сегодня я имел удовольствие прочитать написанную Вами оперу «Гипербола», она вполне соответствует моему желанию только одно слишком много арий и речитативов, а доетов, трио и т. п. очень мало, — однако ж, несмотря на это, мне остаётся только от души Вас благодарит!

С истинным к Вам уважением остаюсь,


[На обороте письма:]

Молодой звезде, появившейся на небосклоне русской литературы: Виктору Ивановичу Ольховскому от маэстро П. Чайковского.

Gracious Sir Viktor Ivanovich!

Today I had the pleasure of reading your text for the opera "Hyperbola" [1], which completely corresponds to my requirements, except that there are one too many arias and recitatives, and too few duets, trios, etc. However, in spite of this you still have my heartfelt thanks!

With sincere respect for you, I remain,


[On the back of the letter:]

To a young star, emerging on the horizons of Russian literature: Viktor Ivanovich Olkhovsky, from Maestro P. Tchaikovsky.

Notes and References

  1. In Letter 51, dating from July 1854, the composer enquired when Viktor Olkhovsky would be coming to Saint Petersburg with the libretto for a humorous opera called Hyperbola: "Bring everything you have with you, my dear fellow, and as much as you care to write". However, the completed libretto seems not to have fired the 14-year-old Tchaikovsky's enthusiasm, and the project was never realized.