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court banker and president of the St. Petersburg Stock Exchange Committee.

Leschetizky played for the Russian court and gained entry to the highest echelons of the aristocracy. According to Aniela Potocka, one of Leschetizkys new
acquaintances was Princess Ustinova (ne Trubetskaya)40 who maintained a salon frequented by musicians and prominent gures in public life. We may safely
assume that Rubinstein played at her soires and that both he and Leschetizky
came into contact with the Russian foreign minister Count Nesselrode and his
niece, the pianist Countess Kalergis; General Todleben, who would mastermind
the defense of Sevastopol during the Crimean War a few years later; Yekaterina
Mikhaylovna, Comtesse de Ribeaupierre (ne Potyomkina), whose husband,
Aleksandr Ivanovich, was the grand master of ceremonies at the Summer Palace
in Peterhof; Countess Yelizaveta Vorontsova, who had once been Pushkins mistress; and the tragic actress lisa Rachel, who excelled in her reading of La Fontaines Les Deux Pigeons.

The Musical Stoker


Within a month of the rst performance of Dmitry Donskoy, Rubinstein
was already thinking about another opera. This time the subject was to be
Stepan Razin, the seventeenth-century leader of a mutinous uprising, with a
libretto by Mikhail Voskresensky. The idea was eventually shelved as such a politically dangerous subject would almost certainly have been rejected by the censor. Also by mid-June Rubinstein had taken up residence at Kamenny Ostrov,
the out-of-town palace belonging to the grand duchess Yelena Pavlovna located
outside St. Petersburg: Today I am traveling out of town to the Grand Duchess,
where it will cost me nothing for my board and lodging.41 Yelena Pavlovna was
the daughter of Prince Paul of Wurttemberg and most of her childhood had
been spent in Stuttgart and Paris until her marriage, in 1824, to Grand Duke
Mikhail Pavlovich, the brother of Nicholas I. Mikhail died suddenly of a stroke
in September 1849, and in the years that followed she was guided in large measure by her devoted secretary, Baroness Edith von Raden, a woman of extraordinary intellect and renement.42 The patronage of such a highly placed gure,
who had the ear of the tsar, proved a crucial factor for the development of music
in Russia. Rubinstein was engaged as her musician-in-residence, and one of his
chief functions was to accompany the singers she maintained as part of her entourage. They included Mariya Stepanova, a singer whom Sollogub once characterized as having not a voice but a draught, and Osip Petrov, the great bass,
who created major roles in the operas of Glinka, Dargomzhky, and Musorgsky.
Both singers had taken the leading roles in Dmitry Donskoy.
Rubinsteins relations with Yelena Pavlovna were often extremely irritable,
especially in the years after the founding of the Russian Music Society. In his
Autobiography he calls her capricious, willful, in a word a tyrant, but he never
ceased to feel sincere respect for her:

36 Anton Rubinstein