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

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

126. To the Editor of the St. Peterburgski Vedomosti

[ February 2?, 1874]

DEAR SIR,

In No. 33 of your esteemed newspaper of February 2, under the heading: "Correspondence," a statement was printed to the effect that a laurel wreath, submitted for presentation to the composer of the opera Boris Godunov at its première, was not turned over to the composer, and that the persons wishing to present the wreath "didn't even know where it was taken."

I read these last words with regret, the more so as on Wednesday, January 30, the composer had the occasion to thank personally two of the ladies participating in the presentation of the wreath, for their kind attention to his humble work.

But more regrettable is the accident that the statement mentions obscurely--a person [ Napravnik] who commands the fullest respect and sympathy for his artistic activity on the opera stage.

Therefore I consider myself obliged to clarify the affair.

At the première of the opera Boris Godunov, before the 4th act began, the composer was informed by certain individuals from the audience of the intended public presentation of a laurel wreath to him: The composer lacked the courage to accept a wreath publicly on the first performance of his first opera. The composer started to leave the theater, but he was stopped and he requested that the wreath not be presented to him before the departure of the audience. At the close of the performance, the elegant wreath was gratefully received by the composer in one of the theater's dressing-rooms.

I appeal to you to spare space for this clarification in the earliest possible number of your esteemed newspaper, and please be assured, dear sir, of my respect and devotion.

M. MUSORGSKY

[Printed in the issue of February 5, 1874]

Backstage

. . . At the second performance [on February 3], after the fountain scene, K.N., sincerely devoted to me, as a friend, but, by the slander of the Conservatory people, a mortal enemy of Musorgsky, came up to me in the entr'acte with the words:

"And you like this music so much that you took this opera for your bénéfice?"

"Yes, I like it . . . ," I answered.

-264-

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