The Musorgsky Reader: A Life of Modeste Petrovich Musorgsky in Letters and Documents

By Jay Leyda; Sergei Bertensson et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

40a. MILI BALAKIREV31 to LUDMILA SHESTAKOVA, St. Petersburg [A Sequence of Extracts]

Prague, December 28, 1866

. . . By the last act I was ready for a fresh surprise. Here's how the solemn procession of Mikhail's coronation was managed: at first Venetians from the Council of Ten, followed by doges, then French troubadors and, finally, under a canopy carried by German pages, Tzar Mikhail passed by in the costume of the King of Sicily from Robert. . . Also I must tell you that evidently A Life for the Tzar doesn't please the local public. (There were very few there.) Nor will local musicians be pleased, for such heads as Shornik32 and Smetana33 can understand nothing sensible that steps out of the German frame. Interesting to wonder how they'll receive A Life for the Tzar (V Praze) as revised by me. Now the public attends only operas that are immediately understandable or that suit their vulgar German taste, like Troubador or Wilhelm Tell, and if A Life for the Tzar is given, it will be only because of the Russophile tendencies of certain local leaders, for example Rieger, who received me very kindly . . .

Prague. January 9, 1867

. . . This evening Kolař34 and Pátera35 came for tea along with Paleček, who sincerely loves Glinka's music and is a frank, dear

In an appendix to Rimsky-Korsakov Chronicle, Shestakova energetically writes: "M. A. Balakirev went to Prague for the first time in 1866, in the month of June, on my request to him to arrange a production of Ruslan there. But he returned toward the end of July without any success. In September of the same year, having obtained a letter of introduction from V. I. Lamansky to [Dr. František] Rieger, in Prague, I went there on the sixteenth, and, with the latter's assistance, the matter of producing Ruslan was settled in a few hours. On December 21 of that year, M. A. Balakirev went to Prague for the second time, taking with him all the sketches of scenery, costumes and accessories that Gornostayev had prepared at my request, and he there busied himself with the production of Ruslan and A Life for the Tzar" Balakirev's first glimpse of opera in Prague was painful, a sloppy production of A Life for the Tzar, conducted by Smetana-- whom he at once suspected of sabotage.
Czech names were an added irritant to the worn Russophile nerves of Balakirev. He mistakenly refers to the composer Šebor (whose new opera, The Templars, was just opening) as Shornik, giving birth to a multitude of pointless puns, as shornik, in Russian, means saddlemaker and smetana, sour cream!
The year 1866 was possibly the most important in Bedřich Smetana's entire career. Within this year his Bartered Bride was produced, and he was appointed conductor at the Provisional Theater.
Josef Kolař , Slavophile scholar and writer.
Adolf Pátera, scholar-philologist, and librarian of the Czech Royal Museum.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Musorgsky Reader: A Life of Modeste Petrovich Musorgsky in Letters and Documents
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 478

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?