. . . Astonished at such high-handed treatment of the audience, we asked one of our acquaintances [ Vladimir Stasov] to make both a written and an oral statement . . . We were told verbally that Mr. Conductor [ Napravnik] of the Marinsky Theatre never accepts wreaths brought to him from the box-office and refused to deliver this one because the usher who brought it to him told him that "it was ordered to be handed over to the composer," and he doesn't take orders, and furthermore doesn't know the names of the donors . . . Is it really required for wreaths to be presented only after submitting a request on stamped legal paper, properly numbered . . . ? N[adezha Petrovna] D[utour] N(atalia Fyodorovna] P[ivovarova] Z[oya Mikhailovna] Ch[arukhina]
[Printed in the issue of February 2, 1874]
Saturday, 2 February '74
DEAREST EDUARD FRANTZOVICH,
I have been outraged by today's correspondence in the Peterburgski Vedomosti. The tactless affair of the wreath according to those who wished its public presentation to the composer at the first performance of this composer's first opera caused the good feelings, established in me during the rehearsals with my dear comrades in the performance of the opera to the conclusion of its première to be transformed to a painful feeling, oppressing me to this moment, because henceforth I cannot calmly await a single performance of the opera. I know with what sympathy you approached my first large work.
I know you as an artist of the highest caliber and I warmly thank you for Boris. I implore you not to think of me as holding common interests with such donors and such statements--they only oppress me.
I am answering today's correspondence in the same columns of the Peterburgski Vedomosti. This is a risk but I am not afraid of any possible consequences: let them chatter that it is indecent for the composer to meddle in these affairs.
Devotedly yours, M. MUSORGSKY