]]]]]]]]]]]        TCHAIKOVSKY'S LOVE AFFAIR       [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[
                                                       (10/26/1989)
               By Bruce A. Lindsey (Freeman 78731LIND)

   I recently finished reading your book "Musical Musings".  Certainly
one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time.  I had
just finished the chapter on Tchaikovsky's alleged homosexuality when
I went to a performance of the Austin Symphony Orchestra which
included Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" (Fantasy-Overture).  In
support of your view were the following program notes (I don't know
their source):
    "Tchaikovsky was emotionally primed for his musical portrayal of
the star-crossed lovers by his own romantic misfortune of the
preceding year [1868].  He had been infatuated with the French opera
singer Desiree Artot [my keyboard does not seem the produce the needed
diacritical marks - acute accents on the first two e's in Desiree an a
circumflex over the o in Artot], who was enjoying a considerable vogue
in St. Petersburg in 1868, and he felt strongly enough to consider
marrying her.  He carried his suit to this lady whom he described to
his brother Modeste as possessing "exquisite gesture, grace of
movement and artistic poise," but she apparently regarded his proposal
of marriage somewhat less seriously than he did -- within a month she
married another opera singer, Padilla y Ramos, in Warsaw.  Tchaikovsky
never revealed exactly how deep a wound this affair inflicted, but he
did make a point of recounting his later meetings with Desiree in his
personal letters, always praising her beauty and artistry.  His torch
for Artot may perhaps never have been totally extinguished. At any
rate, while the Artot episode was probably not directly responsible
for the  creation of "Romeo and Juliet", it was an important emotional
component of Tchaikovsky's personality at the time.  The composer, a
firm believer that Fate seeks to dampen man's every happiness, could
easily have drawn a parallel between his personal loss and the tragedy
of Shakespeare's drama."

                           ----------------

     Sysop's note: Thank you for your kind words and your contri-
bution, Mr. Lindsey. Tchaikovsky's feelings for Artot are well known,
but they have done nothing to dispel the myth of his homosexuality.

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