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

By Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky; Jay Leyda et al. | Go to book overview

sky, who took very warmly to his opera Boris--but there were many strangers, and Musorgsky was the life of the party: he played and sang till late at night from his Boris, his Khovanshchina and all his smaller pieces--his declamation surprised even people who were not connoisseurs of music.

My late husband and I enlisted more and more admirers of Musorgsky's talent, inviting them from all quarters to listen to Musorgsky, and in such a way that already there was formed at my house a circle of warm admirers of his talent. Lukashevich was at that time a warm admirer of mine, and both my husband and I made use of all of our influence on him in order to enlist him in our circle, in which we succeeded, just as the charm of Musorgsky's talent began to work on him . . . --YULIA PLATONOVA


69a. GIOVANNI FERRERO to STEPAN GEDEONOV (A Report)

By order of Your Excellency the score of the Russian opera proposed for production, Boris Godunov, the composition of Musorgsky, was examined in the presence of MM. Louis Maurer, Napravnik, Voyaček, Klammrodt, Popkov, Betz and myself,54 who unanimously decided to have a balloting in the presence of the aforesaid seven persons, in consequence of which there appeared six black balls and one white, so that I have the honor to return the aforesaid score to Your Excellency.

IVAN FERRERO

10 February, 1871

New Version

. . . At the beginning of 1870 [ 1871] Musorgsky presented his opera Boris Godunov to the Directorate; it then had only three acts and was written with male roles only.

Soon after this Yu. F. Platonova had a luncheon at her home on the occasion of her bénéfice.55 She came to invite me and added that on that very morning the fate of Musorgsky's opera was being decided, and that Napravnik and Kondratyev were coming to her

____________________
54
This Musical-Theater Committee was made up of the conductors from each of the St. Petersburg imperial theaters. Only one member was Russian ( A. D. Popkov, the ballet conductor), and there was apparently no age limit, Louis Maurer (Inspector of Music) being eighty-two at the time. It is comforting to imagine that the one white ball was cast by Napravnik, the most intelligent member of this group--and its youngest; he was thirty-two, Musorgsky's age.
55
The bénéfice is a theatrical custom originating in France, whereby some actor, singer or other member of a theatrical company is awarded a percentage of that performance's gross. Such occasions were provided for in the actor's or singer's contract; no charity is implied.

-158-

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