The Latvian Musical Society

             Angliisky Prospect 30, Apartment 34

 

             In 1906 the actress Vera Kommissarzhevskaya decided to seek new directions with her theatre, both figuratively and literally. She signed on the accomplished actor Vsevolod Meyerhold as the new director and moved her troupe from their existing theatre in the Passazh building on Nevsky Prospekt to a new location on Ofitserskaya Street. While renovations were underway at the new theatre, Kommissarzhevskaya hosted several gatherings at the nearby Latvian Musical Society in order to introduce the troupe to the artists and poets of St. Petersburg.

 

Vera Komissarzhevskaya Vsevolod Meyerkhold Alexander Blok
Vera Kommissarzhevskaya Vsevolod Meyerhold Alexander Blok
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             The first meeting was held on October 14, and the guest list included writers Alexander Blok, Fyodor Sologub, Sergei Gorodetsky, Georgy Chulkov, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Lydia Zinovieva-Annibal, and Mikhail Kuzmin, as well as artists Leon Bakst, Sergei Sudeikin, Konstantin Somov, and Nikolai Sapunov. Vera Kommissarzhevskaya sang, and several poets, including Blok, read their work by candlelight as the guests sipped mulled wine.

 

             This was Blok's first meeting with the actress Natalya Volokhova, with whom he was to fall passionately in love. Many years later, Volokhova wrote the following account of the evening: “Alexander Alexandrovich (Blok) was immediately surrounded by a large group of young people. He was bombarded with questions, beset with sandwiches, tea, cakes, wine. He stood looking a little overcome at such an enthusiastic reception, smiling meekly and shifting from one foot to the other. Alexander Alexandrovich was dressed in a long black frock coat, which I think he was wearing for the first time, and was obviously feeling very much the hero of the occasion: pleased, but a little embarrassed too. Of course, there were requests to recite… Alexander Alexandrovich recited well, with a sense of music, in a rather hollow voice, with dignity, even solemnity.”