Letter 3200

Date 14/26 March 1887
Addressed to Ippolit Altani
Where written Maydanovo
Language Russian
Autograph Location Moscow (Russia): Russian National Museum of Music (Ф. 7, No. 58)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIV (1974), p. 63–64

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Brett Langston
14 марта

Милый друг! Пожалуйста отнесись как можно внимательнее к опере Иванова. Я считаю её прелестней шею вещью. Есть места, которые меня почти до слез восхищают: так это все тепло, прелестно, изящно! Разумеется, с таким начальником, как Майков, далеко не уедешь, но Бог даст, он не долго останется. Ах, как я был бы счастлив, если б «Руфь» поставили в Москве. Это было бы более достойно императорского театра, чем какой-нибудь «Бульба»!!

Обнимаю тебя. Дирижировал в Петербурге успешно. До свиданья, милый друг.

П. Чайковский

14 March

Dear friend! Please give as much attention as possible to Ivanov's opera [1]. I consider it to be the most adorable thing. There are places that almost moved me to tears [2]: it is all so warm, adorable, exquisite! Naturally, with somebody like Maykov [3] in charge, it won't go far, but God willing he won't be there for long. Oh, how happy I should be if "Ruth" were staged in Moscow. This would be far more worthy of the Imperial Theatres than something like "Bulba"!! [4]

I embrace you. I conducted successfully in Petersburg [5]. Until we meet, dear friend.

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. "Ruth" (Руфь), an opera in a prologue and three acts by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov was written between 1883 and 1886 to a libretto by Aleksey Tolstoy and Aleksandr Ostrovsky, and was dedicated to Tchaikovsky. The first performance took place in Tiflis on 27 January/8 February 1887, but it was not staged at the Imperial Theatres in Moscow or Saint Petersburg during the 19th century.
  2. In his diary entry the same date, 14/26 March 1887, Tchaikovsky wrote: "Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov played and [his wife] sang adorable extracts from his opera (I especially admired the duet). They left at 6 o'clock".
  3. Apollon Aleksandrovich Maykov (1826-1902), director of the Imperial Theatres in Moscow.
  4. A reference to the opera Taras Bulba by the composer Vladimir Kashperov.
  5. On 5/17 March 1887 Tchaikovsky had conducted a concert of his own works given by the Philharmonic Society in Saint Petersburg.