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Pickleherring Returns to the
Kremlin: More New Sources on
the Pre-History of the Russian
Court Theatre
Claudia Jensen & Ingrid Maier
Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Box
353580, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Click for updates
Uppsala University, Dept. of Modern Languages, Box
636, S-751 26 Uppsala, Sweden.
Published online: 30 Jun 2015.
To cite this article: Claudia Jensen & Ingrid Maier (2015) Pickleherring Returns to the
Kremlin: More New Sources on the Pre-History of the Russian Court Theatre, ScandoSlavica, 61:1, 7-56, DOI: 10.1080/00806765.2015.1042755
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Scando-Slavica 61:1 (2015), 7–56.
Pickleherring Returns to the Kremlin: More New Sources
on the Pre-History of the Russian Court Theatre
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Claudia Jensen, Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Box 353580,
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington USA; Ingrid Maier, Uppsala University,
Dept. of Modern Languages, Box 636, S-751 26 Uppsala, Sweden;
[email protected], [email protected]
This article, a continuation of “Orpheus and Pickleherring in the Kremlin: The
‘Ballet’ for the Tsar of February 1672” (Scando-Slavica 59:2), focuses on the
second performance given for Tsar Aleksej Michajlovič by foreign residents of
Moscow. This encore production, in May 1672, expanded upon the programme
of the February event: it was longer, featured more characters on stage, and even
included some female characters (certainly portrayed by male performers). In
addition to revealing this May entertainment, we discuss the identities of the
performers (largely drawn from the merchant population of Moscow’s Foreign
Quarter), and we suggest that the author of the eyewitness account describing
the February performance was Christoff Koch (ennobled von Kochen), a Swedish
correspondent and commercial representative in Moscow. Almost simultaneously
with the May performance, the Russian court began to make plans for a more
permanent theatre; we trace the court’s attempts to contact the important German
acting troupe headed by the Paulsen and Velten families. Finally, we discuss the
impacts these two performances may have had on the plays offered by the tsar’s
court theatre beginning in October 1672, with special focus on the character
Keywords: Russian court theatre; Muscovy; Pickleherring; seventeenth-century
newspapers; diplomatic reports; Tsar Aleksej Michajlovič; Anna Elisabeth
Paulsen; Carl Andreas Paulsen; Johannes Velten; (history of the) Russian ballet.
0. Introduction
Our previous article ( Jensen and Maier 2013) was concerned primarily with
the events of a single day at the court of Tsar Aleksej Michajlovič: 16 February 1672, when the royal family and a few select retainers were entertained
by a group of foreign residents of Moscow. The actors drew from familiar
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8    C. Jensen, I. Maier
and available performance traditions, including music, to produce a “ballet”
comprised of various acts featuring several well-known characters: Orpheus,
Mercury, and, especially, the comic figure Pickleherring, who appears to have
been the most prominent comic character. Indeed, the comic aspects were
specifically noted in several of our previously published accounts, for example, in our eyewitness report, where the author explained that the royal audience “shook with laughter several times, especially the tsar.”1 Not only was
this performance of interest to the foreign diplomatic community in Moscow,
which reported it in some detail, but it was novel enough to warrant inclusion
in at least three Western newspapers: the Nordischer Mercurius (Hamburg), the
Oprechte Haerlemse Courant (Haarlem, Holland), and La Gazette d’Amsterdam2
published articles reporting the event, and the German newspaper featured a surprisingly detailed description. However, as our assorted documents informed
us, the impromptu repeat performance, which should have taken place on the
following evening, was postponed due to the death of the patriarch on that
day – the last day before the Lenten fast, which would have precluded such
resolutely secular proceedings in any event. One of our reports speculated
about a follow-up presentation after Easter, and in our own follow-up article
we ask if this indeed happened: was there an encore performance and, if so,
when did it take place?
Indeed, the delights of the February event were not forgotten, as two later accounts indicate. In section 1, we will discuss these descriptions, one of
which shows that the encore presentation was bigger and better (or at least
much longer) than the first. In the remainder of the article, we will discuss
briefly some of the larger ramifications of these two performances in several
contexts: who were the actors, and did any of them appear in other theatrical performances? How might these performances have influenced the full1 See source no. 4 in the appendix to Jensen and Maier 2013.
2 We found this French-language article (printed in Amsterdam: “Imprimé chez
Corneille Janz Zwol, Marchand Libraire sur le Dam à l’Enseigne du Mercure”) only
after our first article appeared. We quote the full text of the Moscow newsletter – which
is part of a longer article – in our appendix (no. 6; the numbering of the sources in this
article continues from that in Jensen and Maier 2013). This newspaper article does not
contain any additional information, but it shows yet again that the “theatre news” from
Moscow was considered interesting enough to be included in multiple newspapers, and
that a broader public than we had been aware of was informed about the Moscow event.
(The French-language newspapers printed in Amsterdam were produced for export to the
Southern Netherlands and to France.)
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Pickleherring Returns     9
length plays that took place beginning in October 1672, and, finally, what
might they tell us about traditions and customs of Western – and more specifically German – theatre?
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1. Two Sources from May 1672
Given the enthusiastic reception of the February performance, it seems unlikely that the chief organizer, Artamon Sergeevič Matveev, the head of the
tsar’s Diplomatic Chancery, would pass up an opportunity to offer an encore.
This was not possible in the near term, due to the sudden death of the patriarch and the beginning of the long Lenten fast and the following Easter
celebrations. But fairly soon after Easter, Matveev was able to accomplish this
goal with another presentation for the tsar and his family.
A rather lengthy anonymous dispatch, dated “Moscow 28 May 1672”, was
forwarded to the Swedish government in Stockholm together with three letters dated Narva, 13 June 1672, and signed by Simon Helmfelt, the governorgeneral in Ingria. A fragment in the middle of this dispatch, which is translated
below – about a quarter of the whole – describes a performed entertainment
in Moscow; the relevant news item is sandwiched between accounts of political news (among other things, it contains a detailed description of the
fake execution of Dem′jan Ignat′evič Mnogogrešnyj, Hetman of Left-Bank
Ukraine 1669–1672, and his brother). This letter not only confirms that the
planned encore performance did in fact take place, but it also shows that the
programme was expanded: the February “ballet” had lasted for three hours,
but the May production was twice as long. It also featured an expanded roster
of performers as well as what appears to be an increased number of scenes
or vignettes offered for the pleasure of the royal family. The passage on the
theatrical presentation reads as follows (for the German original, see no. 7 in
the appendix):
[...] Last week some Germans again performed a ballet for His Tsarish
Majesty, which consisted of Peace and War, the Four Seasons, four State
Persons [Staats Personen],3 one beggar, Pickleherring and Swabians, two
3 This expression (and its possible context in the performance) is unclear; the German
phrase can also have other meanings, with the general sense of ‘important person; dignitary’. It may also refer to the concept of the Four Estates; in Sweden, for example, these
were the nobles, the priests, the burghers, and the farmers, and they sometimes appeared
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10    C. Jensen, I. Maier
shepherds and two shepherdesses, Orpheus and four bears, three hunters,
four farmers, eight Romans and Mercury. Altogether it lasted over six
hours. The tsar and his closest boyars, who were sitting nearby, completely
visible, saw it all with great pleasure, as it seems. The tsaritsa was screened off
with other women so that no one could see them. Afterwards His Majesty
had Artemon Sergeevič thank them for him, and they were promised an
invitation to the tsar’s table; everybody was also supposed to get some
sable furs. Several days ago, Col. Nicolaus von Staden was told to make
himself ready to take a trip. He has already received his travelling order
[Abschied] and plans to leave next Monday4 and go from here towards
Novgorod and Riga. As far as I can hear, he is to travel to Courland and
Brandenburg to hire some craftsmen [Arbeits Leute] who are needed here.
The remainder of this paragraph mentions that von Staden will also travel to
Stockholm, in order to ask for “a holy body” (i.e., a relic) from a monastery
near “Nöteburg”,5 and the following (final) paragraph contains details about
an envoy to be sent to Poland.6 We will discuss possible authorship of this
report below (section 2). At this point, we note only that the Swedish correspondent was apparently very well informed; among other things, he seems
to have known the content of the tsar’s order of 15 May (see section 3 below).
In many ways, this May performance continued the precedent established
by the successful February event. Both programmes are described as “ballets”, which – to emphasise a point we made earlier – does not indicate an
evening of dance, but is used rather as a generic term to describe a series of
what appear to be skits or unrelated acts that may also have included some
dance (perhaps recalling the entrées of the much more formal court ballets).
The word dance is used very rarely in our documents, and we certainly should
not imagine that our participants had any special training in dance.
on stage in ballets and pageants (as in the Carousel for the Accession of Charles XI in
December 1672; see Rangström 2004, 304 [English translation on p. 305]). There was a
depiction of the Four Seasons at the Kolomenskoe residence (Bushkovitch 2001, 47, note
72); see below on the Orpheus figure in Muscovite sources.
4 This would have been 3 June.
5 This place – today’s Šlissel′burg – had many names. Nöteborg would be the Swedish
form; the traditional Russian name was Orešek, but in the 17th century the Russian name
was Noteborg.
6 In our transcription in the appendix (no. 7) we quote additional passages from the
original German text of the enclosure, beginning from the theatre news to the end.
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Pickleherring Returns     11
Although we do not have a list of participants (as we did for the first presentation), the May event appears to have been set up by the same people; at
least, as in the earlier production, Matveev was in charge, and we have no reason to believe that there was any wholesale substitution of the original group
of participants. Tsar Aleksej was accompanied by “his boyars”,7 all of whom
appeared to be sitting close to the stage and in plain sight (“offentlich”); the
royal women, as before, were screened from view, presumably by the same
sort of fabric enclosure described by witnesses to the February performance.
It appears that the participants tried to solve the (not unpleasant) problem
they experienced after their first effort: its extreme popularity, and the fact
that the February performance apparently was too short, since the anonymous account noted that “his Tsarish Majesty would have liked to keep sitting and watching more, but we did not have anything left to perform” (no. 4
in Jensen and Maier 2013, 168). This problem was clearly addressed by the
expansion from three to six hours. Some of the same characters also reappeared in the May performance, a testament to their popularity at the premiere: Orpheus, Mercury, and Pickleherring were also featured in the encore,
along with some of the same general character types (hunters are listed as
appearing in both performances, and Romans appeared in both; the eyewitness description of the February event mentions that the costumes had been
“sewn up in the Roman manner”). Most of the additional acts seem to be
fairly generic and would have fit seamlessly with the characters in the original
February programme: depictions of Peace and War, the seasons, the hunters, and even the Swabians, who would likely have been regarded, according
to tradition, as comic figures by the Northern German performers, probably
eager to increase the comic quotient in their encore.8 It is difficult to estimate
exactly how many actors took part in this second performance, but considering that it was twice as long as the first one (which had twelve or thirteen participants), there were probably more performers involved this time – possibly
7 In this source, as in the long eyewitness account published in our previous article as
source no. 4, the author is not using the term “boyar” in its literal fashion, as indicating
a specific rank, because he also includes Matveev among the “great boyars” who were
watching the spectacle. Matveev was not elevated to the rank of boyar until October 1674.
8 The February performance included an opening and closing speech in German (see
source 3 in Jensen and Maier 2013, 160). The brief description here makes it impossible to
determine whether or not additional spoken elements were added in the May “ballet”; in
any event, it seems very unlikely that the performers would have included Swabian dialect
in their enhanced programme.
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12    C. Jensen, I. Maier
as many as twenty or so, since the groupings of seven or eight performers on
the stage simultaneously suggests that there were enough actors to accommodate these scenes plus whatever immediately preceded or followed.
One significant element specified in this new production is the presence
of female characters on the stage: this short description calls not only for two
shepherds but also two shepherdesses. This does not imply, of course, that
female actors played these roles on the stage (and indeed we do not think that
this is the case), but it is certainly worthy of note that characters identified as
female were allowed to appear in such a display. Our short description does
not mention musical performances, in contrast to the February event, which
included both singing and instrumental music. The Nordischer Mercurius article had reported that the royal women were particularly delighted with the
music, and the other descriptions also emphasise the pleasing novelty of the
musical performances, so we expect that, although it was not mentioned in
this description, the encore performance would not have omitted this popular ingredient.
This account, written in Moscow on Tuesday, 28 May, gives us only an
approximate date: the event is described as having taken place “last week”,
which allows for a range of dates from 18 to 25 May (26 and 27 May would
not have been considered “last week” by the writer).
Fortunately, there is one more short account that allows for a more accurate pinpointing of the date: a postscriptum in a letter by the Lübeck merchant Philip Vinhagen (at the time, head of the Novgorod branch of the Lübeck trading station), written on 29 May 1672 and sent from Novgorod to the
alderman of the Novgorod trading company in his hometown, Lübeck. In our
translation we quote only the passage that deals with the performance (the
German version is in the appendix, no. 8):9
On the 18th of this month some German merchants danced a ballet for His
Tsarish Majesty, which was said to have pleased his Tsarish Majesty very
9 The slightly damaged document (held in the archives of Lübeck) does not contain the
letters “P.S.”, but it is written on the reverse of the page, after Vinhagen’s signature (“Philip
Vinhagen Johansohn”). It was published partially more than ten years ago by E. HarderGersdorff (2002, 134); however, it has not yet been mentioned in studies of the Russian
theatre. In our appendix we present a new transcription of the whole postscriptum, which
continues with news concerning Matveev’s problems in connection with his fourth
marriage. We are very grateful to Professor Norbert Angermann, Hamburg, for providing
us with a copy of this publication, and we thank Jürgen Beyer for checking our transcription.
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Pickleherring Returns     13
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much. The tsaritsa watched it, too. According to report, she was sitting in
plain sight [unverdeckt], which is something strange to hear, because up to
now nothing like this had ever happened. One assumes that the dancers
will be well rewarded for this.
Although this description is very brief, it does provide a date for the performance: 18 May (which was a Saturday). This accords with the approximation
“last week” in the diplomatic account above, and it also fits with the earlier
documents saying that the encore presentation had to wait until after Easter,
which was on 7 April in 1672.10 Neither of our two sources from May 1672
tells us exactly where this performance took place, but one of the documents
published in Bogojavlenskij (1914, 1) confirms the hypothesis that the two
“ballets” were performed in the same venue, at the home of the tsar’s late
father-in-law, I. D. Miloslavskij. This record, from 10 May 1672, is a funding
request for supplies to be used at the Miloslavskij house: rich fabrics in green
and scarlet, apparently to be used as some sort of decoration or hanging.11
The second program was performed on Saturday, following the Feast of the
Ascension (Thursday). Both performances – in February and in May – were
thus positioned around major fasts, as were the fall performances at the established court theatre, which took place before the beginning of the Nativity
(or St. Philip’s) fast.12
Furthermore, this quick sketch not only reinforces the degree to which
the foreigners in Moscow were interested in these events (naturally enough,
as they were performed by their community), but it also shows the consistent impulse to report these happenings back home. The performance is
again called a “ballet”; it continued to delight the royal audience (women
10 On the date of Easter, see Čerepnin 1944, 59, table XV. 18 May was during the sixth
week after Easter, two days after Ascension.
11 Bogojavlenskij 1914, 1. There is a similar request from January 1673 (ibid., 31).
12 The important connection between theatrical performances and the church calendar
was emphasized already by Rautenfels, when he linked the Feb. programme to Shrovetide
celebrations. The May performance would have been between Ascension (Thursday 16
May) and Pentecost (Sunday 26 May), thus avoiding the Apostles’ fast (which began on
All Saints Day, the Sunday following Pentecost); this is also around the time of Semik and
its associated performative traditions. That May continued to be a possible performance
window is indicated in a report sent by the Danish resident, Mogens Gjøe, dated 26 May
1673 and noting that a performance was cancelled because Matveev had been injured
(cited in Bushkovitch 2000, 99, note 19). On the fall performance times, see Zabelin
1872a, 487–488, Morozov 1888, 155–156, and Cholodov 1983, 150.
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14    C. Jensen, I. Maier
included), and the performers appear to have been drawn from the same foreign – largely commercial – community as before (discussed briefly in Jensen and Maier 2013; see also section 2 below). Of course, this report was
not written by an eyewitness. Vinhagen was certainly not in Moscow at the
time of the performance; apparently he had received – or at least had seen – a
report sent from Moscow to Novgorod.13 The remark that the tsaritsa was
“in plain sight” does not coincide with our first report, which said that the
women were “screened off so that no one could see them”. We think that the
women certainly were screened off (something that was also mentioned in
all our reports about the February performance), but that they were visible
at least to a certain degree. In this context, then, the description in Vinhagen’s
postscriptum might simply underscore the highly unusual fact that the royal
women were visible in any fashion whatsoever. This was perhaps even more
unusual given the fact that the tsaritsa was in the very late stage of her pregnancy, since Peter was born less than two weeks after this performance. The
performers may not have known of this, but surely the upper-level organizers
were aware of her condition.
2. Performers and Roles
Who were the performers in these two wildly successful productions? Several sources about the February presentation mention that there were twelve
participants; one of them – our source no. 3 in Jensen and Maier (2013, 159)
– states that they were “mostly foreign merchants”. Another source contains a
sort of “cast list” (ibid., 164, source no. 4), mentioning many personal names
and the roles played by these individuals. We repeat this important passage
In this ballet were the following participants, namely Doctor Rosenborg’s
two sons, and also his house teacher [Studiosus], Mons. Trautenberg;
Mr. Butinant’s house teacher; both Misters Siwerts – the elder brother
was inventor and author, along with Mons. Rosenburg, who personally
13 Vinhagen clearly had very close contacts with the Swedish representatives in Novgorod.
From a letter written by him to the alderman of the Lübeck company in Lübeck, Franc
Lefever (in March 1683), it appears that he was actually living in the Swedish trading
station at that time – not in the Lübeck station, which is where he was supposed to live
(Harder-Gersdorff 2002, 128).
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Pickleherring Returns     15
was acting in the role of four different characters, namely as Mercurius,
Orpheus, a Moor, and, in the fourth place, as a wild man. Mons.
Christo[ffr] Roden was a hunter in green morocco [leather] clothes,
along with three other persons: Rautenberg and Hasenkrach – who was
also a skillful Pickleherring, in another role – [and] Paridon Voos. Mons.
Hindrich M[ü]nter, Mons. Fabbert, and also the embassy’s honourable
former stable master were drumming on stage while I along with Mons.
Münter were playing the roles of two wild men, and afterwards of two
foolish peasants.
This list allows us to identify most of the performers, although the names are
often corrupted by the copyist (or given erroneously by the author himself).
Already in our first article we identified “Mons. Trautenberg/Rautenberg” as
Jacob Rautenfels and the two sons of Dr Coster von Rosenburg as Bernhard
(Boris) – his oldest son – and Johan Heinrich, who was baptised in June 1653
(ibid., 148, note 9). Our sources for the May presentation do not mention
any names, but as we noted above, because this was an encore performance,
we suppose that the performers were largely the same. (However, J. Rautenfels and Johan Heinrich von Rosenburg had most probably left for Wilna by
18 May; see ibid., 149, note 11.) At the time of the February performance,
Rautenfels was living in Dr Rosenburg’s house, apparently as a private tutor
for the doctor’s sons, and one additional private teacher, who was working in
the merchant Butenant’s household, is also mentioned, although no name is
given. These tutors and Rosenburg’s two sons were certainly not merchants,
so was the author of our diplomatic report wrong when he noted the importance of foreign merchants among the participants? We believe he was
correct, for at least six of the people listed as participating in the February
entertainment were fairly well-known merchants, and our tentative identification of Christoffer Roden14 as one of the performers adds a possible seventh
14 Chr. Roden might well belong to the Rodden family (also spelled Rodde/Rohde),
active with the Russia trade in Lübeck and Livonia; see Soom 1969, 91–104 and passim.
A. Demkin (1994:2, 98) mentions the brothers Adol′f, Gerbert and Jogan Rode from Lübeck
(documented in Russia during the 1650s); V. Zacharov (1996, 316) has Kaspar and Timofej
Rodde in his list of merchants from Lübeck, documented in Russia during the first quarter
of the 18th century (see also Zacharov 1997, 208). For sons of such a family it would have
been a normal step in their career to spend some years abroad. The major problem is that
we cannot document a son with the name Christoffer. The Christian names used for boys of
that family range over a broad spectrum – among the names we know, in addition to those
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16    C. Jensen, I. Maier
merchant. As we discuss below, we believe that the Moscow correspondent
himself (who also was a merchant) was one of the participants in the February performance, and the presence of an additional figure – Butenant, albeit only a spectator – would have reinforced the impression that the actors
were “mostly foreign merchants”. We would thus have a minimum of six and
a maximum of eight foreign merchants among the participants proper in the
February “ballet” (seven/nine if we include Butenant).
The six merchants we can document with almost no doubt are the following (in alphabetical order):
Dietrich/Dirck Hasenkroeg was one of the most prominent figures in
the two spring entertainments, and he was one of the oldest active participants, for he was nearly 40 years old at the time of the spectacle. In the February “ballet”, he had two roles: a minor part as one of four hunters and the
much weightier and more influential role as Pickleherring (see also section 4).
His name is spelled variously as Hasenkrach or Hasenbruch in the report and
rendered generally as Timofej Timofeevič Gazenkrug/Gazenkruch in Russian;
we discussed him briefly in our first article (p. 165, note 42). Hasenkroeg was
probably born in the early 1630s, since already in 1656 he was employed as an
assistant merchant in Moscow;15 from the 1660s he was an independent merlisted above, are Berndt, Dietrich, and Jochim (Soom 1969, 197). If the former Swedish
trade representative and resident Johan de Rodes (who died in Moscow on 31 December
1655) had a son before Gustaf Johan was born (in 1656), that son – who would have been a
nephew of Christoff Koch – could well have been given the name Christoffer, but the only
son we know about is Gustaf Johan. (De Rodes’ daughter later, in January 1677, married
one Dietrich Hasenkrug (Hirschberg after being ennobled); however, we are not sure
whether our “Pickleherring” is identical with this D. Hasenkrug. See Amburger 1956, 305;
Adelheim 1929, 88.)
15 On Dietrich/Di(e)rck Hasenkroeg see Martens 1999, 8, 21–22; Amburger 1968, 31.
According to Martens (1999, 12), almost all of the Hamburg merchant families in Moscow
had originally immigrated from the Netherlands; this might explain the characteristic
Dutch spelling Hasenkroeg(h), and also the German and Dutch forms of the Christian name
(Dietrich/Dirck). There are three contracts associated with Hasenkroeg’s employment
dating between 1651 and 1656. Only the latest, from Feb. 1656, is signed; see Stadsarchief
Amsterdam, 5075 (Notariële archieven), vol. 2117 ( Joachim Thielmans, notary), pp. 9–10,
1656, February 9. The other two (vol. 2116, pp. 457–458, February 1655, and vol. 2112,
pp. 107–108, August 1651) are unsigned; it is not clear if this means that they were never
enacted. Many thanks to Heiko Droste for locating and clarifying these contracts for us. In
1674 J. Ph. Kilburger mentioned a “Nordmann Hasenkrug”, apparently a conflation of the
names of two merchants in Moscow: Konrad Nordermann and D. Hasenkroeg (Kilburger
1769, 322). Later, Nordermann lived in the Moscow house of Quirinus Kuhlmann, a
western poet who had gone to Russia to persuade the tsar to join his anti-Catholic alliance;
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Pickleherring Returns     17
chant, trading on behalf of different Hamburg- and Amsterdam-based trading
houses. In 1674 he owned a house in the Russian capital; he died in Moscow
in 1683 (Martens 1999, 21).
Hasenkroeg was involved in the tsar’s theatre to the very end.16 On several occasions, he is described by the term igrec, which appears to indicate an
actor (or, more literally, ‘a player’) in the performances, not necessarily a musical performer, although his role as Pickleherring might easily have included
singing.17 He was linked to Matveev’s acquisition of a large (portative) organ for the theatre, apparently through his work as a merchant; indeed, Leonid Rojzman, in his comprehensive work on organs in Russia, suggests that
Hasen­kroeg purchased the instrument in Archangel′sk the summer before
the first full-length play was performed (Rojzman 1979, 90–91).
Our newfound knowledge of Hasenkroeg’s role in the spring perfor­
mances helps to elucidate his later contributions to the tsar’s theatre. Hasen­
kroeg petitioned the court in July 1676 (after Aleksej’s death and the closure
of the theatre), claiming that in October 1672, Matveev saw an organ in
Hasenkroeg’s home and took it away to be used in the theatre. It was valued
at the astonishing price of 1200 rubles.18 Whether or not Hasenkroeg purchased this organ at the specific behest of the court, we can now understand
why Matveev knew just where to look for such an instrument: Hasenkroeg’s
triumph as Pickleherring surely sparked Matveev’s attention and interest.
Heinrich Münter – in Russian Genrich/Andrej Nikolaevič Minter – is often
mentioned as a “Swedish merchant” in the scholarly literature,19 something that
in October 1689, both Kuhlmann and Nordermann were burned to death as “heretics”
(see, for example, Schmidt-Biggemann 1998, 269).
16 His name appears in Bogojavlenskij (1914, 12, 14, 30, 39, 40, 74, 76).
17 In the West, the character Pickleherring was consistently associated with singing and
dancing; see Alexander (2007, 467–468; 2010, 740–741) for a brief summary of the
earliest Continental associations with music and dance. On the word igrec as applied to
Hasenkroeg, see Rojzman (1979, 90); I. M. Kudrjavcev suggests that the term indicates a
musical role (see Artakserksovo dejstvo 1957, 25, note 72).
18 The petition is in Bogojavlenskij (1914, 75–76); other references to prices for organs
are in Rojzman (1979, 85).
19See, for instance, Zacharov (1996, 317), Veluwenkamp (2000, 147), and Jurkin
(2009, 152); the latter scholar indicates the years 1675–1718 for the activities of the
‘Swedish citizen’ (švedskij poddannyj) Genrich/Andrej Minter in Russia and gives extensive
information about the glassworks in Duchanino (ibid. and passim). In 1681 Andrej Minter
was mentioned as a Swedish citizen, together with another Swedish merchant (DAI 1875,
158, no. 79).
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can be explained through the fact that he most probably had his roots in Livonia
(Amburger 1957, 201). In the 1690s, together with another Swedish citizen
who had Dutch roots, Peter (Antoni) Coyet, he became co-owner of the first
Russian glassworks, located in Duchanino, which had been founded by Julius
Coyet in the 1630s (ibid., 200–201). Münter began his career in Moscow in the
late 1660s and perhaps was not yet an established merchant in 1672; although
the year of his birth is unknown, he must have been quite young in 1672, since
he was still alive almost fifty years later.20 J. Ph. Kilburger (1769, 322) mentions
Heinrich Münter as a merchant in his 1674 report. In the February “ballet”
Münter had several roles (and was therefore one of the most central performers): as a wild man and as a farmer (both roles together with the anonymous
author), and he also sang a song, accompanied by a viola da gamba.
The two Mr Siwerts (“beijde Herrn Siwerts”), mentioned as participants
but without any specific roles, could be identified as the brothers Peter and
Johann Sievers, merchants from Hamburg. Peter Sievers was a trader from
1657, specializing in luxury goods from 1664; he had contacts with the tsar’s
court and appears in the documents well into the 1680s.21 The elder Mr Sievers, thus Peter, was mentioned as an “author” of the February production,
along with B. Rosenburg, and he was involved with the later theatrical productions at court, apparently because of his connections as a merchant (Bogojavlenskij 1914, 53, 55–57, 61). His brother Johann lived in Moscow from
1665 until 1679 (Demkin 1994:2, 93). The family was ethnically German
(not immigrants from Holland, like Hasenkroeg; see Jensen and Maier 2013,
165, note 42).
Mons. Fabbert, described as drumming on the stage along with the Swedish “embassy’s honourable former stable master” in the February performance, may be identified with Ägidius/Egidius Tabbert (Il′ja Il′in, that is,
20Münter married a daughter, Anna, of Werner Müller, who was a merchant in
Archangel′sk and a factory owner in Moscow. This must have been much later, as Anna was
born only after 1659. After Münter’s death, Anna married pastor Christoph Eberhard, who
was born in Eisleben in 1675, so she must have been much younger than her first husband
(see Amburger 1957, 212). The date of Münter’s death is not known, but it was certainly
well into the 18th century. According to Veluwenkamp (2000, 148), he was the manager
of the glassworks at Duchanino at least until 1721, although Amburger (1957, 201, note
895) writes that Münter must have died by 20 August 1719, when his widow remarried.
The glassworks were taken over by Paul Westhoff in 1719 (ibid.), so it would be reasonable
to suggest that Münter died in 1719.
21 See Demkin 1994:1, 94; 1994:2, 37, 39, 93; and DAI 1857, 92.
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Egidius the younger) or his brother, whose Christian name was probably
Matthäus (in Russian Matvej).22 Their father, Egidius Tabbert, married a
daughter of Erdmann Swellengrebel from Stettin in 1639; Egidius junior and
Matthäus – the only sons who are known to us (Amburger 1957, 214) – were
probably born in the 1640s (Egidius/Il′ja died in 1698; ibid.). Both Egidius
and Matthäus later became quite prominent in Russia.23
Paridon Voos must be Paridom Voss, another Moscow merchant. In Russian sources he is called Spiridon Jur′ev Fos (his real name, Paridom, has been
previously unknown). He probably came from Hamburg, where the unusual
name Paridom occasionally appears.24 Russian sources classify him as a Hamburg merchant, for instance Demkin (1994:2, 93), who refers to documents
from 1660 to 1674. He was active as a merchant in Moscow from the 1650s
to the 1670s; his trade in luxury goods brought him into contact with the
Russian elite and the court. Two brothers, Vincent and Johann Voss, worked
as merchants in Reval and Narva, respectively.25 It is not known whether
Paridom Voss, like his brothers, moved initially from Hamburg to Livonia or
whether he immigrated to Moscow directly from Hamburg, but it is clear that
22Another Il′ja Il′jin is known, but he had certainly not yet been born in 1672, for he is
documented as a merchant in Moscow in 1778 (Amburger 1957, 214, table VI); this Il′ja
Il′jin might have been a great-grandson of the Egidius Tabbert who married in 1639.
23See RBS (1912, 272). In 1683 Il′ja Tabert established a private manufacture of fabrics
that functioned at least until 1689 (ibid.; Amburger 1957, 199; Kovrigina 1998, 183 dates
the closure of their enterprise in the early 1690s). The brothers are identified in some
sources as Dutch; Veluwenkamp (2000, 112) includes Egidius Tabbert in a list of Dutch
merchants who owned houses in Moscow in the 1680s (see also Demkin 1994:1, 112). RBS
(1912, 272) also mentions that the Tabbert brothers were immigrants from Holland, and
Zacharov (1996, 314) includes Il′ja Tabert in a list of Dutch merchants (his brother does
not appear in the list), documented from 1660 to 1697. This conflicts with E. Amburger’s
(1957, 199 and 214) information about Egidius/Il′ja and Matthäus as grandchildren of
Erdmann Swellengrebel, a tailor from Stettin. Apparently, in Russia Tabbert was considered
to be a Dutchman because he had immigrated to Russia from Amsterdam (see also Il′ja
Tabart in a combined list of ‘Dutchmen and Hamburgers’ – “Galancy i Amburcy” – for the
year 1681, published in DAI 1875, 157). V. A. Kovrigina (1998, 142 and 147) documents
the brothers in the late 1690s and the early 18th century; they seem to have been ethnic
24 Well-known men with this name from the 18th century are Paridom Daniel Kern and
Paridom Colldorf (see, for instance,, accessed 6
January 2014). The family name Voss is not unusual in Northern Germany, so there is no
reason to suggest Dutch roots (vos is both Dutch and Low German for ‘fox’).
25 Demkin 1994:2, 94 mentions Fincen Jur′ev Fos – Spiridon Jur′ev’s brother – in his list of
Lübeck merchants in Russia for the years 1659–1685.
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he had contacts with Livonia and possibly also with Swedish state officials.
Paridom Voss belongs to the older “actors”; in the February event he played
only a minor role as a hunter, along with three other participants.
In addition to the actors, there were certainly others involved in the two
spring performances. The eyewitness account describes fairly elaborate scenic
effects for the February presentation, and the expanded performance in May
would also seem to require effective scenic decorations. Although no names
associated with such artistic work are preserved in our sources, it is possible
that the artist Peter Engels (in Russian documents called Petr Gavrilov Inglis)
was involved. P. Engels – from a Hamburg family of artists and later documented as a “perspective painter” in Copenhagen – can be traced in Moscow
from 1662, and he (along with other foreign and Russian artists) was actively
involved in preparing scenery for the full-length plays performed at court in
the fall of 1672.26
Yet we are still missing one important contributor: the author of the long
report, the “ego” in our source no. 4, the eyewitness report from the stage.
Our strongest candidate is Christoff Koch27 (ennobled von Kochen), whom
we mentioned in our previous article as a possible author of two other “ballet” sources, but as a matter of fact, he cannot be excluded as the author of
source no. 4 either – on the contrary, he is emerging as the most likely author
of the eyewitness report. The various linguistic registers and styles in these
descriptions might be due to the fact that the two reports were sent to differ26 Peter Engels was baptized in Hamburg on 25 Sept. 1631; he died in Moscow in 1692
(Amburger 1956, 305; see also the online index of Amburger’s references, AmburgerDatenbank, where Peter Inglis/Engels is listed at
amburger/index.php?id=93529, accessed 18 February 2014). He and other artists, both
Russian and foreign, were involved in the theatrical preparations already in the summer of
1672 (Bogojavlenskij 1914, 15–16), and these – and other – names appear throughout the
period of the court theatre.
27In Russian he was called Kok or Koch. In the secondary literature there are many
spelling variants of his Christian name; moreover, all Swedish-language sources we have
seen use the form Kochen also prior to being ennobled (in 1683). In this article, we spell
his name in the form he used in his own letters, signed by him personally: Christoff Koch.
See RA, Livonica II, vols. 180–181 (two letters dated 3 and 9 September 1672; five signed
letters from the period 1673–1674); Diplomatica Muscovitica, vol. 604 (many letters to
the councillor of the realm [riksråd] Bergenhielm, personally signed by Christoff Koch,
from the years 1679–1683). After his nobilitation he wrote Christoff von Kochen (RA,
Diplomatica Muscovitica, vol. 115, containing more than 100 letters, addressed to the
Swedish king and Bergenhielm, 1684–1690, and personally signed by von Kochen).
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ent recipients (one a more formal report for the Swedish government, and
another to a recipient who – as stated in the letter itself – had recently left
Moscow and for whom most of the names would have been familiar). Some
linguistic differences might also have originated from the copyists.
Chr. Koch was born in Reval on 30 May 1637 into a German-speaking
family (Low German cannot be excluded) that had moved to the Baltic area
at the end of the 16th century. He first came to Russia at age eighteen, in 1655,
accompanying the Swedish resident Johan de Rodes as a secretary (SBH
1906, 602–603; in this source, Koch’s expertise in foreign trade is given as a
reason for his appointment to this post). The following year, after de Rodes’
death, war broke out between Russia and Sweden, and Swedish troops invaded Lithuania. As a result, Tsar Aleksej detained the large Swedish embassy
that had arrived in Moscow in 1655 (altogether roughly 140 persons) for almost two years, from May 1656 to April 1658 (Troebst 1997, 433–435).28
Koch, too, was detained and was able to return to Sweden only in 1658 (SBH
1906, 603). On 17 January 1671 the governor general in Narva, S. G. Helmfelt, appointed Koch as his correspondent in Moscow (Munthe 1935, 143).
At the same time, Koch was also the official Swedish commercial representative in Moscow;29 sometimes he was called commissioner, resident, or minister (Zernack 1958, 144). He died in Stockholm in 1711 (SBH 1906, 603).
He must have had a fairly good – possibly even an excellent – command of
Russian, after all these years in Russia, especially considering that he was still
very young when he first came to Moscow.
Heinz Ellersieck (1955, 19) provides a good characterisation of Koch’s
competence and qualities as a correspondent. We quote the relevant paragraph in full here (with our interpolations in square brackets), as his unpublished dissertation is difficult to find:
28 A detailed report written by a member of the Swedish embassy, Filip von Krusenstiern
(with many attachments) is in the Swedish State Archives (Diplomatica Muscovitica, vol.
50). Many documents concerning this diplomatic crisis – among other things, letters by
ambassador Gustav Bielke to the Swedish government, describing the conditions for the
Swedish citizens during the long confinement in Moscow – were recently published in
Russkaja i ukrainskaja diplomatija (2007). See also Tolstikov 2010.
29 All regular correspondents from Russia – Chr. Koch in Moscow, Hans Deyne (Daine/
Däin) in Novgorod, Hermann Herbers in Pskov – were also commercial representatives
(“factors”) in these cities; see Zernack (1958, 73, note 230) and the letters by the governors
general in Livonia to the Swedish government in RA, Livonica II, vols. 180–182.
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Christopher Koch, who in 1683 was ennobled as von Kochen, was, like de Rodes
and Eberschildt, primarily a merchant from the Baltic littoral. Like de Rodes and
Eberschildt, he also became an extremely valuable correspondent and diplomatic
representative in Russia. Though his experience in Russian affairs was already
well begun, he served as a clerk under Eberschildt in 1664. Subsequently he
became a regular “correspondent”, or as the Russians would have it, spy, for the
Swedish diplomats and the governors general of Ingria. After 1669 especially, he
carried on a regular correspondence which during the most difficult times kept
Swedish authorities well informed of events in Moscow. In early 1678 he was
exposed and forced to leave Moscow. He returned later the same year, however,
in the official capacity of factor [commercial representative] and then in 1680 as
commissioner. As burggraf of Narva after 1688 he continued to serve Sweden
on Russian matters well into the period of Peter the Great. There is no doubt
that Koch, for so he called himself during the period here involved, through his
connections with Eberschildt and as a merchant travelling in Russia and residing
in Moscow, was one of the best informed foreigners in the tsar’s empire. His
reports, found mostly in the collection Livonica [Stockholm], are careful as well
as lengthy. His information and his interpretation of situations was extremely
comprehensive and almost always correct.
In one of the notes to this paragraph Ellersieck (1955, 52, note 40) mentions
a letter that the Danish nobleman Frederik Gabel (1645–1708) had sent
from Moscow to the Danish King Christian V: “It was partly of Koch that
Gabel was complaining when he wrote in November 1676 that the Swedes
had been ‘wandering in and out of the chancellery like natives’.”30 That Koch
really did “wander in and out” of both the chancery and Matveev’s house we
also learn from an (unsigned) report that Koch sent to S. G. Helmfelt on 29
October 1672, shortly after he had watched the Esther play on 17 October.
In this report Koch tells the governor general in Narva (and, indirectly, the
Swedish government) that he had been invited for dinner the day after the
Esther play by Matveev; the letter also contains political details about their
conversation at dinner.31
30 Gabel and Koch had the same primary task in their assignments in Moscow: to write
reports to their respective kings about activities in Moscow. They competed with each
other in fulfilling this goal; see, for example, Šamin 2011, 164–165.
31Although the report is anonymous, there could not be another person among the
Swedes who would have been invited both to the Esther play and to dinner with Matveev.
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On the basis of these reasons of access, availability, and expertise, we suggest that Koch is the strongest candidate as the author of both the May report
and the long eyewitness account (source no. 4) discussed in our previous article. This would also add another merchant to the performing ensemble, thus
reinforcing this fairly consistent emphasis in our descriptions. At the time of
the spring “ballets”, Christoff Koch was 34 years old, about five years younger
than Hasenkroeg and, probably, Peter Sievers. His participation in such a performance would certainly have given him an opportunity to carry out his primary task: keeping the Swedish government up to date about events in Moscow. Given the restricted access to the performance described in the eyewitness
account, this might have been his only means to acquire such information. The
author played two minor roles in the February programme, both together with
another “Swede” (Livonian), Heinrich Münter. If Koch was the author, this
would also answer the puzzle of how this report ultimately ended up in Sweden.
Thus, we get the following picture of the participants in the February “ballet”: apparently, we have two private teachers (both of whom were about 20
years old); two of Doctor Rosenburg’s sons (17–19 years old); and two or three
young merchants – Münter, Tabbert, and possibly Chr. Roden. Four other participants were identified as “full-fledged” and well-known merchants (probably
all aged around 35–40). If we suppose that Christoff Koch was the anonymous
author, this would give us one additional merchant (since he certainly never
ceased to be a merchant, in addition to his task as a correspondent), so altogether we have eight or nine merchants out of thirteen participants.32
3. Preparations for the Permanent Court Theatre: Seeking Actors
The two accounts of the May performance, in their turn, help to clarify some
of the documents long known from Bogojavlenskij’s extensive publication
See RA, Livonica II, vol. 180 (the same archival volume as our longest source about the
February ballet and the report from 28 May 1672). This is not the only report in which the
Moscow correspondent says that he had been invited by Matveev (see also ibid., passim, and
Diplomatica Muscovitica, vol. 604, passim); apparently, this was something quite normal.
32 Including the Swedish legation’s stable master, there were actually thirteen participants
(not twelve, as stated in the report sent to Bengt Horn as well as in the Nordischer Mercurius
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of theatrical records.33 The earliest record published was from 10 May 1672
(p. 1); this is a funding request for supplies to be used at the house of I. D.
Miloslavskij, the tsar’s late father-in-law. This had been the location of the
February “ballet”, and the requisition refers to preparations for the upcoming repeat performance (which – according to the postscriptum in Vinhagen’s letter quoted above – took place eight days later) and is thus not related
to the October performance of the Esther play. We should note that neither
of our reports about the May performance refers specifically to the Miloslavskij house, but this payment record reinforces yet again the connections
between the February and May events; apparently, both presentations took
place, reasonably enough, at the same venue. Five days later – 15 May, right
in the thick of the preparations for the encore performance – the Muscovite
documents preserve an order to one of the tsar’s foreign employees, Colonel
Niclas/Nicolaus von Staden (a trusted servant and messenger of Matveev),
to go abroad to find, among other specialists, two people who could stage
comedies.34 Thus the Russian records support the date for the second presentation (18 May) mentioned in Vinhagen’s letter.
What kinds of performers was von Staden seeking and where did he look
for them? The Muscovite records in general show both a fairly unhurried initial pace and – probably inevitably – confusion resulting from overlapping
communications. Von Staden reached Pskov on his way to the Swedish border only in early July, so it appears that he was not in much of a hurry. His
dispatch to Matveev from Riga on 18 July (translated on 31 July; pp. 2–3),
however, shows that, once he arrived, von Staden had acted fairly efficiently.
In this report, he described his negotiations with a group of eight actors (komedianty), although he warned that some of the other experts he was talking
to were wary of coming to far-off Moscow (they had heard reports of bad
33 Here we provide a very brief outline of the early steps in the formation of the court
theatre; we will offer more detail in a future study, but the outline presented above, based
on Bogojavlenskij (1914, 1–7), is sufficient for this article. In this section, we will refer
only to the page numbers in Bogojavlenskij’s publication.
34 “2 чел., которые-бъ умели всякие комедии строить” (Bogojavlenskij 1914, 1). The
order is dated 15 May and Vinhagen’s letter mentions 18 May for the encore performance,
so it is clear that von Staden’s commission was related to this second production. As noted
below, von Staden did not leave Moscow immediately – he was still in Moscow at the time
of the encore, but we have no information as to whether he might have attended the show.
The diplomatic report cited above, dated “Moscow 28 May 1672”, specifies that von Staden
was to leave on the following Monday, i.e., 3 June.
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treatment and were hesitant about making the journey). Thus, to fulfil his
theatrical commission, von Staden seems to have focused not on individual
experts, but rather on finding a ready-made theatrical troupe that could come
to Russia. This, as Bogojavlenskij notes (pp. iii–iv), clearly exceeded his original orders, but it did not appear to create any problems back home: the prospect of bringing a ready-made acting company to Moscow did not seem to
bother anyone.
Communications – overlapping and inconsistent – continued throughout
the summer and the fall (pp. 3–7). Problems were compounded by what was
apparently a long silence on von Staden’s part, due to an accident in Stockholm in which he broke his leg. Judging from an attempted summary of
events made by the confused officials in Pskov in early November (pp. 5–6),
the definition of what kind of person actually constituted a komediant was in
question: von Staden had sent a small group of musicians to Moscow, and
the officials at the border needed to confirm their status. His leg healed, the
colonel finally returned to Moscow and made his report in early December,
listing the musicians he had hired and including some specific names of actors and details of their contract. He reported (prematurely, as it turns out)
that he had hired twelve actors (ėkomedianty) of the “Felton-Čarlus troupe”;
they were to live in Moscow without any regular financial support but would
be paid the substantial sum of fifty rubles whenever they performed for the
tsar.35 A few days later, the payments were approved, including for the musicians and other specialists (p. 7).
Meanwhile, the tsar’s officials wasted no time taking action on the
home front. Already on 4 June – that is, the very day following von Staden’s
(planned) departure – they contracted Pastor Johann Gregorii, of Moscow’s
Foreign Quarter, to write a full-length play on the Esther story, along with the
requisitioning of substantial materials for the project (p. 8). It was Gregorii
and his students who performed on 17 October, that is, before the musicians
35 “Да онъ же Николай приговорилъ для потѣхъ царского величества экомедіантовъ
магистра Ѳелтона да Чарлуса съ товарыщи, 12 человѣк, а ѣхать им до Москвы на
подводахъ и на проторяхъ великого государя; а на Москвѣ жить имъ безъ жалованья.
А когда изволитъ царское величество быть имъ въ комедіи, и имъ давать отъ игры по
50 рублевъ, а платью и всякому къ тому строенью быть ихъ, окромѣ хоромины” (pp.
6–7). These were the same basic arrangements von Staden had mentioned in his report to
Matveev in July (pp. 2–3), although the troupe apparently included only eight performers,
and he did not mention Felton or Čarlus in these original plans.
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or any of the anticipated acting specialists had arrived – in fact, von Staden
himself was still abroad at this time.
Nevertheless, the reference to the “Felton-Čarlus” actors is significant, for
these are the only known names of specific Western professionals who might
have been involved in the Muscovite theatre of the 1670s. There is a third
name to add to this group: Anna Elisabeth Paulsen, who wrote a letter to von
Staden in April 1673. Who were these people and how are they connected
to von Staden’s theatrical recruiting tour in Riga the previous year? Although
N. Tichonravov (1873, 22–23; 1874:1, viii) identified “Felton” correctly as
a famous actor, Anna Elisabeth and “Čarlus” have remained something of a
mystery, one that was unraveled only about a century later, by Kurt Günther
in his 1970 study of one of the Russian plays.36
It is Anna Elisabeth’s letter that proves to be the key. It was written in
Copenhagen on 4 April 1673 and addressed to von Staden in Moscow (see
source no. 9 in the appendix for a new transcription of this document).37 She
begins by apologizing for the three-month delay in her response, saying that
her son-in-law’s letter, which von Staden had sent from Riga to Königsberg,
had only just arrived. Later, she mentions a letter (presumably the same letter) by von Staden and his cousin (“Vetter”) – it is possible that the sonin-law and von Staden’s relative are the same person. (Von Staden himself
was from Riga,38 so it is not surprising that he had relatives living there.)
36 N. Tichonravov (1873, 5; 1874:1, viii) suggested that Čarlus was an Englishman; as
noted below, J. Bolte (1895, 96–99) was one of the earliest to put most of these pieces
together. K. Günther (1970, 194–195) lays out the relationships fully; he quotes only brief
excerpts from the letter discussed below.
37 The letter is written in a single hand throughout, but there is an annotation in a 17thcentury chancery hand noting that it was delivered by N. von Staden on 16 May 1673
(possibly to Matveev himself). We use the name form that appears in the letter, Anna
Elisabeth. (There was another Anna Elisabeth Paulsen, born in 1673 (Heine 1887,
appendix I), who was apparently Carl and Anna Paulsen’s grandchild.)
38Ellersieck 1955, 37. The actual letter to which Anna Elisabeth refers is lost; we
do not know if she means a single letter, with entries by two different people, or two
separate sheets enclosed in the same envelope. K. Günther (1970, 195) believes that the
“Schwiegersohn” mentioned in the letter was Johann Velten (who was indeed a son-in-law
to Anna Elisabeth), but if this is true, it is not clear why von Staden would have needed to
communicate via Anna Elisabeth, and not directly with him. Although we have not located
any married Paulsen daughter living in Riga, it seems more logical to suppose that the
son-in-law mentioned in the letter was a permanent resident of the city, and thus a reliable
contact for the Riga-born von Staden. We thank Bärbel Rudin for her advice on this letter.
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At any rate, Anna Elisabeth clearly expects von Staden to understand these
relationships and the content of the previous correspondence – in other
words, her letter reflects a continuing exchange of information and professional plans. She explains that, although their group (an unspecified “we”)
had intended to come to Moscow from Riga the previous fall, it had been
impossible to break their contract requiring them to perform for the Danish king. Now, the following spring, however, they were free and still interested in coming; furthermore, judging from the (delayed) letters they had
received from von Staden and his cousin (who was apparently involved in
the transactions), they understood that the tsar was still interested in seeing
their perfor­mances.39 The group planned to be in Riga in the fall, and they
would be ready to come to Moscow at any moment, whenever the tsar summoned them. Meanwhile, they were looking for a good singer and a lutenist,
as von Staden had requested earlier. Her letter, although suitably deferential,
is confident and professional, dealing matter-of-factly with travel plans and
transport of their stage equipment (“Maginen”). She also seems to have been
diligent in her efforts, mentioning that she dined three times with the [Russian] envoy in Copenhagen and that he had written a good recommendation
letter. The envoy (unnamed in her letter) was Emel′jan Ignat′evič Ukraincev
(1641–1708); one wonders if his recommendation was based solely on his
meetings with Anna Elisabeth or if it is possible that he had actually seen the
troupe perform at some point.40
The acting company Anna Elisabeth Paulsen is writing about was indeed
very well known and highly visible. It was headed originally by Carl Andreas
Paulsen (Pauli, Paul), Anna’s husband and clearly the “Čarlus” of the Russian
sources.41 Carl Paulsen’s acting career is documented from 1648, although
he might have begun even earlier, and Anna Elisabeth was one of the first
female actors to perform in German (Scherl and Rudin 2013, 503). We do
not know exactly when Carl Andreas and his wife were born, but since they
39 In her letter, Anna Elisabeth noted that “we have left Copenhagen”, although she was
still in the city; does the departure of the rest of the troupe suggest that she was no longer
active as an actor or simply that she stayed behind to conclude their business affairs?
40On Ukraincev, see Veselovskij (1975, 531), citing his dispatch as an emissary to
Denmark in the fall of 1672 (DAI 1857, 460). He is also mentioned in our own source no.
7 in the appendix.
41 E. Nystrøm (1918, 24) suggested that “Čarlus” was indeed Carl Paulsen, although he
did not identify Anna as his wife (see note 42 below).
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married around 1644, they were probably both born in the early 1620s.42
In 1664 Paulsen brought Johannes Velten into his troupe, luring him away
from another well-known acting group headed by M. D. Treu (ibid.). Velten
(1640–1692) – obviously the “Felton” of the Russian sources – is one of the
most important figures in 17th-century German theatre history.43 He had a
university education (somewhat unusual among actors during the 1660s):
in January 1661 he was promoted to magister and baccalaureus in Leipzig
(Heine 1887, 5). According to C. Heine (ibid., 6–7), Velten started his theatre career only around 1665/66, after his father and uncle had died. In 1671,
at the latest, Velten married Carl’s and Anna Elisabeth’s daughter Catarina
Elisabeth and thus became their son-in-law. (The Velten troupe, headed by
Catarina Elisabeth Velten after her husband’s death, continued the tradition
well into the 18th century.)44
The Paulsen-Velten troupe toured widely throughout northern Europe
and Scandinavia for several decades, including a brief stay in Riga in May/
June of 1672 (Bolte 1895, 97); von Staden apparently arrived in Riga shortly
after their departure and began to search for appropriate “komedianty” to hire
for Moscow. He may have heard about their performances from the cousin
42The marriage crisis described in Bolte (1895, 96–97), involving a woman named
Sophia, gives some useful dates: “Elisabeth” (that is, Anna Elisabeth) submitted a petition
in 1663 saying that she had lived with Carl for nineteen years, thus since around 1644;
they had eleven children (only seven still alive at the time of the petition). Bolte calls Anna
a daughter of Carl Paulsen, which seems impossible. (See also Nystrøm 1918, 24.) Carl
could, of course, have had an adult daughter by 1673. However, in her letter from April
1673 to von Staden, Anna Elisabeth refers to her “son-in-law”; it seems highly improbable
that one of Carl’s daughters would have had a married daughter by that year (and that
Carl would have had an adult grandchild). We therefore agree with A. Scherl and B. Rudin
(2013, 503) who mention Anna as Carl’s wife.
43 The early and important study of Velten, by C. Heine (1887), contains some serious
mistakes and omissions; see Wustmann (1889, 473) and Lier (1895, 585). Particularly
important in our context is that Heine apparently missed A. Wesselofsky’s work (1876),
with its information about the “Russian episode” in Velten’s life, something that became
generally known in Germany through the article by W. Nehring (1893). Heine (1887,
7–8) also missed the fact that Velten married Carl Paulsen’s daughter; he does not know
her family name. On Velten, see also Flemming 1931, 15–16.
44 As a matter of fact, Catarina Elisabeth was to play a much more important role in the
history of the German theatre than her mother, who became well known in the first place
through her marriage to Carl Andreas Paulsen. For an updated detailed overview with
many references see Scherl and Rudin (2013, 714–717); Hansen (1984, 269) gives the
itinerary for her company between 1693 and 1712.
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Pickleherring Returns     29
mentioned in Anna Elisabeth’s letter or through general inquiries about available actors – we are not certain exactly how he learned about the company.
However, her letter, as well as von Staden’s December 1672 report, indicate
that the two parties had been in contact in some fashion, although clearly
no solid plans had been formed. Anna Elisabeth thus recalls this contact (for
example, she mentions his earlier request for two musicians) and writes to revive plans for the trip to Moscow. This letter shows her functioning as a kind
of impressario for the troupe, organizing future performances. In this role,
she seems to have been independent of her husband – although Anna Elisabeth was very positive about reviving the idea of the trip to Moscow, the plan
apparently was never realized, so perhaps Carl was not as enthusiastic as his
wife. We know from other sources that already in December 1672, Carl had
been asking – via a friend – for permission to retire to his hometown, Hamburg, together with his wife ‘because they are getting old and want to settle
down’ (“weilen Sie nunmehro alt werden vnd sich zu ruhe schlagen wollen”).
Anna Elisabeth’s letter includes a postscriptum noting that her husband had
gone to Hamburg, but apparently his retirement plans did not materialise – at
any rate, nothing is known about their later settlement in Hamburg.45
Parts of this story had been known already in the late 18th century. The
earliest published archival material about Tsar Aleksej’s theatre that we know
of was by G. F. Müller, from 1778.46 This was, at least partially, the basis for
the more detailed studies by A. F. Malinovskij, who mentions “Anna Paulson”
in an 1808 publication.47 These works by Müller and Malinovskij then passed
into the hands of both Russian and (our focus here) Western European writers.48 The earliest among the latter was F. Tietz (1838, 191–192), who relied
45The letter requesting permission to retire to Hamburg, written in Copenhagen on
7 December 1672 by Otto Sperling to his uncle Broderus Pauli, mayor of Hamburg, is
published in Bolte (1895, 98); the original is in the Royal Library of Copenhagen, Gl. kgl.
Saml. 3092, Bd. V. 1, no. 324. Our thanks to Jürgen Beyer for verifying the location of this
46The theatrical material appears in section 2, “Izvestie o načale Preobraženskogo i
Semenovskogo polkov Gvardii” in [Müller] 1778, 108–109 (see also Zabelin 1872b, 501).
The documents cited in [Müller] probably date to 1674, not 1676; cf. Dvorcovye razrjady
1852, 1131–1132.
47Malinovskij’s works are published in Starikova 1994. There are some errors in
Malinovskij’s information about Anna Elisabeth in his expanded unpublished 1826–1827
survey, as Starikova (1994, 52) points out.
48 Odesskij 2004, 15–16, gives an overview of Russian writers.
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30    C. Jensen, I. Maier
on Malinovskij’s 1808 work (translated very closely but without attribution)
in his passage on 17th-century Russian theatre, where he mentioned the role
of “Anna Paulson”. Neither Tietz nor Malinovskij refers to Carl Paulsen or to
Johann Velten, although Malinovskij included a garbled reference to the conflated names “Pastor Magistr Jagan Gotfrid Felten” in his later unpublished
study.49 We do not know if the two men were acquainted, although Tietz travelled in Russia in the early 1830s; Malinovskij died in 1840.50
Tietz’s German-language presentation was subsequently picked up by
other Western historians. His work is used in the survey by Thomas Overskou
(1854, 112–113), who refers both to “Anna Poulson” and “Carl Andreas”.
Overskou is cited by the German scholar Johannes Bolte (1895, 96–99),
who seems to have been the first to put many of these pieces together (that
is, the identities of Velten, Čarlus, and Anna along with the link, through von
Staden, to Tsar Aleksej’s court).51 He and other historians up to the present
time fairly consistently call Anna a singer,52 but we have so far found no evidence for any special singing abilities on her part, although certainly all actors
at the time were occasionally called upon to sing.
Why might von Staden have fixed on this particular acting company?
Surely chance played a role: when he arrived in Riga, people may still have
been talking about them, especially if von Staden were making specific inquiries about actors (and he would have had more direct information from his
relative living in the city). It was also probably important to the Russian agent
that this was a very famous troupe, one that had already played for the Dan49See Starikova 1994, 53, and her comments on p. 52. In this unpublished work,
Malinovskij says that von Staden went on a recruiting trip for actors in 1671. Although von
Staden was indeed abroad on the tsar’s business in that year, we have no indication that he
was seeking actors or other theatrical personnel already in 1671.
50 In Tietz 1836, 1, the author notes his stay in St. Petersburg in 1832 and 1833.
51There are some inaccuracies in Bolte’s presentation, as noted above (for example,
he thinks Anna is Carl Paulsen’s daughter). A. Wesselofsky (1876, 14) mentions Johann
Velthen as a well-known actor in the context of von Staden’s recruiting trip (see also
Veselovskij 1896, 30), and W. Flemming (1958, 114) includes the Paulsen-Velten troupe
in a discussion of general influences on Pastor Gregorii. J. Stone (1968, 228) also makes
clear the connections between the Paulsen-Velten troupe and von Staden, although the
relationships he describes are somewhat tangled. As noted above, K. Günther (1970,
194–195) finally brings all of these threads together; later, P. Béhar (1999, 280–281) also
connects Velten with the efforts to create a theatre in Moscow.
52See Tichonravov (1874:1, viii), Wesselofsky (1876, 14), Nehring (1893, 3), Bolte
(1895, 97), Nystrøm (1918, 24), Stone (1968, 228), and Katritzky (2007, 281).
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Pickleherring Returns     31
ish royal family and at other courts – none but the best for the tsar! However,
there might have been another factor, one that may have encouraged von
Staden to pursue this troupe specifically: the Paulsen-Velten company was
well known for its Pickleherring portrayal. This character would have been
standard fare for any such touring company, but the popularity of the character in Moscow, coupled with this troupe’s known talents in this area, suggest
at the very least that von Staden was doing his best to reflect his employer’s
newly acquired tastes.53
Furthermore, the identification of this famous company brings the Muscovite court squarely into the cultural commerce of Europe which, especially
after the Thirty Years’ War, was flourishing. The specifics of Anna Elisabeth’s
letter and von Staden’s (premature) report on the proposed financial arrangements show that the tsar was willing to pay good money for their performances and to allow them to travel in and out of Russia – sufficient reasons
for these seasoned troupers to regard Moscow as a potentially lucrative market for their artistic wares.54 The attempt to bring this well-known Western
troupe to the tsar’s court was apparently not successful,55 and the conditions
for their presence there were fleeting, for they would not have been welcome
after Aleksej’s death and the closure of the theatre. Nevertheless, the negotiations provide a fascinating picture of the feasibility of a wholesale importation of theatrical culture to Muscovy, and this, in turn, provides a model
for what was ultimately a successful importation of such an acting troupe a
quarter-century later, under Tsar Peter I.
53 G. Dahlberg (1992, 247) reproduces an image of Christian Janetzky (“Janetschky”),
the Pickleherring in the Velten troupe; the image is also reproduced in Hansen (1984, 51).
Asper (1980, illustrations 14 and 15, following p. 426) includes a second image of the actor.
54 An earlier, equally unsuccessful, example is described in Maier and Šamin 2013: a
group of German acrobats came to Pskov in 1644 and asked for permission to stay there.
When they were questioned about their intentions to travel elsewhere in Russia, they
responded that they did not intend to go to Moscow.
55Th. Overskou (1854, 112–113) seems to have thought that Anna Paulsen really
went to Russia; see also M. Katritzky (2007, 281), who says that Anna Paulsen actually
performed in Russia (and, specifically, in St. Petersburg) in 1672. However, as we have
seen, the troupe did not actually go to Russia, and the city of St. Petersburg was founded
more than thirty years later, by Peter I.
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4. Western Performance Traditions and Their Impacts on Russian
Our knowledge of the February and May “ballets” sheds new light on the
full-length plays developed for the tsar’s later court theatre. Knowing that the
court’s theatrical experience was initiated by these two performances, we can
understand why Matveev, when he wanted to expand the available theatrical
options for the tsar, naturally tried to import performers from abroad and,
in order to save time (and perhaps to hedge his bets), why he also turned to
Pastor Gregorii and the ready-made ensemble of youths in the Foreign Quarter rather than, for example, turning to the resident poet and teacher Simeon
Polockij.56 Furthermore, because we now know that the court’s experience
with Western-style staged performance began with these secular programs,
we have new ways of contextualising individual elements within those later
plays as well as analysing the series of theatrical productions as a whole. We
begin by looking at two specific items – the Pickleherring character and the
use of music on stage – and continue by considering the evolution of the tsar’s
court theatre as a whole.
The lasting effects of the two spring performances are particularly evident
in the continuing history of the Pickleherring character, for his popularity
in the productions of February and May influenced the repertoire of the established theatre that was set up soon afterwards. Pickleherring, although
originating in the English comedy that was exported to the Continent in the
waning years of the 16th century, was an indispensable character in popular
German theatre throughout the 17th century. The character was strongly associated with comedy (usually anarchic and disruptive) and also with music,
dancing, and other physical displays. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why
this character was initially so successful on the Continent, where the average spectator would not have understood a play given in a foreign language
but could revel in the character’s physicality.57 Since we know from our previ56 Texts and commentary for Simeon’s plays are in Russkaja dramaturgija 1972, where on
p. 324 (citing Bogojavlenskij 1914, 37) the inclusion of his play O Navchodonosore care,
bound together with other plays for the court theatre, is noted; the complex history of his
Komidija pritči o bludnem syne is discussed on pp. 313–324. Speculation about Simeon’s role
appears recently, for example, in Swoboda 2011, 434.
57Compare, for example, the well-known description by Fynes Moryson, describing
the impression made by the English actors in Germany in the 1590s (quoted in Katrizky
2004, 113): “...the Germans, not understanding a worde they sayde, both men and women,
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Pickleherring Returns     33
ous documents that there was no dialogue in the February production, the
Moscow Pickleherring was stripped of one of his most characteristic skills
– speech (which, as developed by native German players, was also generally
riotous and profane). His delighted reception by the tsar and his family shows
that, once again, the character’s physical antics readily survived the move. The
diplomatic report describing the Russian royal family’s reaction to this character specifically underscored the element of physical comedy: “His Tsarish
Majesty and the women laughed several times so that one could hear it, especially at Pickleherring’s antics and faces” (see source 3, from 20 February
1672, in Jensen and Maier 2013, 159 and 182).
Pickleherring was a natural choice for the German amateurs in Moscow.
In his “native habitat” on northern European stages he appeared everywhere
and anywhere, on impromptu outdoor platforms in the companies of travelling professional actors or in longer engagements in more settled environments.58 In other words, because of Pickleherring’s ubiquity, this is precisely
the kind of character these amateurs would have known about and been able
to reproduce – anarchic leaping and some sort of dancing would have been
well within the abilities of the generally young male actors who appeared in
Moscow. There is also a natural calendrical connection, for the Pickleherring
flocked wonderfully to see theire gesture and action, rather then heare them, speaking
English which they understoode not”. J. Alexander (2007, 473; 2010, 751–752) notes the
character’s physical attributes (see also Hilton 1985); A. Veselovskij (1896, 31) mentions
Pickleherring in a discussion about the influences of English comedy on the early Russian
plays, and R. Haekel 2004 (with extensive bibliography) surveys the influences of the
English comedians on German theatre as a whole in the 17th century. P. Béhar (1999,
274–275) notes the emphasis on the transplantation of the “most violent plays” in the
English repertoire in order to help overcome the language barrier; he also places the
Paulsen-Velten company in the context of the “triple explosion” following the Thirty Years’
War, in which new professional troupes, the “English” companies, and – like the PaulsenVelten troupe – the German companies based on the English traditions combined to make
an extraordinarily rich theatrical culture; as Béhar writes, during this period, “the Empire
was exposed more than any other territory to foreign influences” (p. 275). The classic study
of this period, with a great deal of information on Pickleherring, is Cohn [1865] 1971;
important corrections and additions are in Schrickx 1983, 1986; Hilton 1985; Katrizky
2004. See also Limon 1985, esp. pp. 1–33.
58Alexander (2010, 742) notes that in the second half of the 17th century, the
Pickleherring character “continued to star not only in full-length plays, but also in the
comic afterpieces”. Katrizky (2004) and Stříbrný (2000, chapter 1) provide details of
touring companies, especially in the first half of the century; see also the many illustrations
of the character in Asper 1980 and Hansen 1984. On the Baltic context, see Kitching 1996.
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character was associated with Shrovetide in the West, and that is exactly
when the first Moscow performance took place (in February); this same sort
of masking and other transgressive actions had long been associated with
maslenica in Russia.59
Given this enthusiastic reception, it is no wonder that the later court theatre included a character named Pikel′gering in the play on the Tamerlane story (Temir-Aksakovo dejstvo), which premiered in 1675.60 Even earlier, in the
second court play, which appeared in the fall of 1673, there is a character who
strongly recalls the Pickleherring of the two spring programmes, although he
does not bear this name. This second play was on the biblical story of Judith
(Iudif′), and it includes a character named Susakim, who displays many of
Pickleherring’s attributes including, this time, comic dialogue: an obsession
with food (in this case, sausages, which fulfil the double function of food and
phallic object), and physical comedy (he thinks his head has been cut off with
a foxtail, another item associated with Pickleherring, prefiguring the fate that
befalls Holofernes in the play’s next act).61
59 Cf. Alexander (2007, 464–466) on the associations with herring, secular festivities,
etc.; see also Lichačev et al. (1984) for the Russian context.
60The records in Bogojavlenskij 1914, 41–45, show the activities surrounding the
preparations for Temir-Aksakovo dejstvo in Jan. and Feb. 1675. The text is published in
Russkaja dramaturgija 1972, 59–92, where the character Pikel′gering appears on p. 71. P.
Morozov 1888, 140–200, has an extensive discussion of the influence of English comedy
on the kinds of plays produced at Aleksej’s theatre, with a special emphasis on Pickleherring
and another Western character, Telpel (Tölpel), who also appears in Temir-Aksakovo
dejstvo; he relies on the insightful presentation in Tichonravov 1874:1. On Pickleherring in
the Russian context, see also Veselovskij 1896, 31; Vsevolodskij-Gerngross (1977, 70–71),
Alexander (2007, 470, note 37, citing Wesselofsky 1876) and others.
61 The text of Iudif ′ is in Pervye p′esy 1972, 351–458; the foxtail scene (Act 6, scene v)
is on pp. 437–442. See also the important study in Günther 1970; pp. 155–157 focus on
the comic characters. N. F. Findejzen (1928:1, XXXI, note 389) discusses the Susakim
character in the context of Western stage clowns, and see also Odesskij 2004, 131–133.
J. Alexander (2007, 470, note 37), citing Wesselofsky 1876, notes the appearance of
Pickleherring in 17th-century Moscow, as do Vsevolodskij-Gerngross (1977, 70–71),
and others. Z. Stříbrný (2000, 18) cites an illustration published in 1621, in which
Pickleherring wears a cap “decorated with a fox brush as a sign of his cunning” (the image
is reproduced on p. xiv; see also Asper 1980, illustration 1, following p. 426; Hansen 1984,
p. 55, illustration 27); Cohn [1865] 1971, CXXIV, note 2. The double meaning of the
German word Fuchsschwanz – ‘foxtail’, and ‘a type of a saw (shaped like a foxtail)’ – may
have been intentional, as such wordplay is strongly associated with the Pickleherring
character. J. Alexander (2010, 759) mentions the use of Fuchsschwanz in association with
the related character Jean Potage; on the sausage connection, see ibid., 754. In the wellScando-Slavica 61:1, 2015
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Pickleherring Returns     35
Pickleherring’s popularity in Muscovy, as well as his continuing presence
on Western stages, may even be echoed in the repertoire imported for the
first, and short-lived, public theatre established in Moscow, early in the 18th
century. The enterprise was headed by Johann Kunst (slightly later by Otto
Fürst), and one of the plays they offered was Princ Pikel′-Gjaring, ili Žodelet,
samyj svoj tjur′movyj zaključnik (‘Prince Pickleherring, or Jodelet, himself his
own prisoner’).62 This play was ultimately based on the well-known work by
the Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca, El alcaide de sí mismo,
which circulated widely throughout European stages in the second half of
the 17th century, with versions in several languages (Sullivan 1983). Thus, as
N. Tichonravov observed, the choice of this play would have been a natural
one, typical of the repertoire of a number of travelling acting companies –
including the Velten troupe, which performed a German-language version of
this play, Sein selbsteigen gefangener Sicilianer, in Dresden in 1684.63
The two spring performances also seem to have influenced the music
used in the later full-length plays created for the tsar’s theatre. The eyewitness account of the February performance specifies several musical instruments: violin, viola da gamba, and flutes, in addition to singing. According
to the account printed in the Nordischer Mercurius, the accompanied singing
was especially popular with the royal women ( Jensen and Maier 2013, 158,
source no. 2). This kind of music – a small instrumental ensemble and singing – is exactly what was used in the later performances and was the focus
of von Staden’s hiring tour in Courland, where he signed a contract with a
group of instrumentalists, although they did not arrive in time for the first
known painting “Merrymakers at Shrovetide”, by Frans Hals (ca 1615), the Pickleherring
character wears a garland of sausages and herrings.
62 Bogojavlenskij 1914, 145. As S. Karlinsky (1985, 47) notes, Jodelet (d. 1660) was a
famous comedian in Molière’s time; in the Russian-language text of the play, the character
Žodelet is a generic comic or fool.
63 On the Velten troupe’s play, see Heine 1887, 31, Sullivan 1983, 73, 82, WatanabeO’Kelly 2002, 172–174. There is also an operatic tradition in Hamburg associated with
this text. General discussions of the Kunst/Fürst theatre, in addition to the extensive
presentations in N. Tichonravov 1874:1 (esp. p. XXXIII, note 2, where he compares the
repertoire of the Velten company to that of the Kunst troupe) and Morozov 1888, esp.
233–237, are in Findejzen 1928:1, chapter 12, Vsevolodskij-Gerngross 1977, 93–95,
Starikova 1994, Starikova 1997, 9–19.
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36    C. Jensen, I. Maier
performance.64 Similarly, in her letter, Anna Elisabeth Paulsen mentions that
they were seeking a good singer and a lute player, according to von Staden’s
request. These musicians would have fit readily into the music featured in the
February (and presumably also in the May) performance. The spring events
influenced the music of the later plays in a different way as well: it seems
likely that Matveev learned about a large organ owned by Hasen­kroeg, the
spring Pickleherring, through their joint involvement in these early productions.65
Finally, our previous article showed that the long-standing speculation
about an “Orpheus ballet” (with music by Heinrich Schütz) performed in
Russia during the 1670s must be discarded; even recent scholars have repeated and elaborated on this myth.66 As our diplomatic and newspaper sources
clarify, all these speculations should now be brought to an end; the word balet
64 The contract with the four instrumentalists was actually signed in Mitau [ Jelgava]
(Bogojavlenskij 1914, 18–19), which was the capital of the Duchy of Courland. The
musicians had been employed by the duke; again, von Staden seems to have been seeking
ready-made ensembles, although he did hire a trumpet player separately in Sweden (the
contract, signed in Stockholm in September, is on ibid., 18). Even the trumpeter from
Sweden was considered not only for the traditional ceremonial roles (fanfares at grand
entrances, especially), but also for possible participation in the theatre. Kitching (1996,
96) notes that Mitau “was a traditional place of call for itinerant players” and that, in
general, “the Duchy of Courland appears to have been a favourite area for itinerant players”.
65As L. Rojzman (1979, 84–85) pointed out, the fact that Matveev requisitioned
Hasenkroeg’s organ indicates that there were no other suitable instruments (apparently
meaning no suitably large instruments) at court or in the Foreign Quarter at that time. No
organs (and no keyboard instruments in general) were used in the two spring performances:
perhaps there were no such instruments available among the foreign residents, or perhaps
none of the participants knew how to play one. As Rojzman noted, the musicians von
Staden hired in Courland listed the instruments they could play and those they brought
with them – this includes an organist but no organ, suggesting that von Staden knew that
there were appropriate instruments already in place in Russia. However, one wonders what
von Staden might have known about the situation when he departed in the summer (around
July) – was Hasenkroeg’s large instrument already known to him, or was Hasenkroeg – as
Rojzman suggested – delegated to purchase it at the Archangel′sk market in late summer?
Or did von Staden simply assume that an organ (or at least a suitable keyboard instrument)
would be provided by the court by someone, somehow?
66 See also Jensen and Maier 2013, 153, especially note 18. A recent example is by Erich
Sommer (2000, 4–5), who mentions a ‘Singballett Orpheus’ to a text by Pastor Gregorii
and directed by Nikolaus Limm in 1673. Nikolaj Lima was indeed involved in the theatre
as a dance instructor, but this was only in late 1675 – early 1676 (Bogojavlenskij 1914, 57,
58, 66, 67), after Gregorii’s death and just before the theatre closed. Earlier encyclopedia
articles, for example “Balet” in the influential Brokgauz-Efron volumes (ĖS 1891, 798),
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(both in our German and our Russian sources) described a miscellany of acts
and performances, and in the Moscow programme, Orpheus was only one
of many characters on stage, and by no means the most important. This also
helps us to understand later references to the word balet – and, in general,
to dancing – that appear in connection with the last year or so of the Russian theatrical productions. These references seem to indicate the same sorts
of mixed entertainment that initiated the theatrical experiment in the first
5. New Contexts in Russian Theatre
Apart from the general idea of performed Western-style entertainment and
a lingering fondness for Pickleherring in particular, the spring experiences
offer new insights into 17th-century Russian cultural history as a whole. The
February performance seems to have been regarded as a one-off affair, at least
initially: a quick assembly of skits that might be pleasing to the tsar and his
family during a time of year traditionally associated with role-playing and
other comic entertainment (and a time, as our eyewitness source mentions,
when nothing much was going on, so a little entertainment would have been
an especially welcome diversion). It was unusual, yes, but it was only its unexpected success that led to plans for a repeat performance. As we have seen,
this encore was delayed due to the death of the patriarch and the beginning
of the Lenten fast, so it took place only in May, at which time a new and expanded version was presented to the royal family. This was the context for the
preparations leading to the famous October premiere of Artakserksovo dejstvo
– the court had tasted the delights of western performers and performance
styles, and Matveev was only too pleased to instigate plans to regularize these
happy diversions.
As the surviving play texts show, the performance in October – vastly
more elaborate and with a long period of rehearsal, a specially-written plotdriven script, and designated supervisors and actors – turned out to be somehave been reprinted and excerpted online, so the idea of the Orpheus story as the first fulllength Russian ballet is widespread.
67 See the references in Bogojavlenskij 1914, 57 (in German, “ballett”) and references
to dancing on p. 67 and passim. The earliest usage of the word balet we have found in a
Russian text is in a newspaper translation from 1649, in a report from Denmark (VestiKuranty 1983, 159); the term is not included in SRJa XI–XVII vv. (1975). Our forthcoming
study will discuss theatrical terminology in greater detail.
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38    C. Jensen, I. Maier
thing quite different. In the Esther play, the comic elements, which had been
so popular in the spring performances, were sequestered into separate intermedia-like segments that appeared in between much longer plot-oriented
acts.68 The popularity of the spring entertainments tells us not only why such
intermedia were included in the first play – these comic elements had made
the biggest impression in the spring “ballets” – but they may also suggest why
the structure of the full-length plays appears to have changed after this first offering. In the next surviving play, Iudif´ (Judith), the comic elements were not
shunted off into the breaks between acts, but rather integrated back into the
main action itself. The division is not absolute even in Artakserksovo dejstvo:
for example, singing, which was so popular in the February performance (and
probably in the May encore as well), appeared throughout, and it continued
to be featured in Iudif´, although less prominently.69 And, although most of
the court plays were based on biblical stories, this, too, was not absolute. As
noted above, one of the later plays was on the Tamerlane story, and indeed,
with the (unrealized) Bacchus and Venus production in the planning stages
in early 1676, we seem to be right back where we started, with secular mythological topics: Bacchus and Venus in 1676, Orpheus and Mercury in 1672.
In these various ways, then, the spring 1672 performances moulded the
content of the sustained court theatre, whose offerings appear to have been
adjusted to reflect the most popular elements of this first set of theatrical experiences. The court’s negotiations with the Paulsen-Velten troupe also indicate that reproducing the success of the early performances was a conscious
goal for the more regularized productions.
68 A number of scholars have noted the connections between the comic characters in
these scenes and the traditions of Western theatre; see, for example, Flemming 1958, 115;
Stone 1968, 240; Pervye p′esy 1972, 44, and others. I. M. Kudrjavcev (Artakserksovo dejstvo
1957, 64–65) discusses the characters in the intermedio scenes in terms of improvised or
semi-improvised performance.
69Musical elements of Iudif´are discussed in Günther 1970, 166–168. The structure
of the two plays by Simeon Polockij is somewhat different, although they, too, include
musical elements. In the play on the story of the Prodigal Son, Komidija pritči o bludnem
syne (Russkaja dramaturgija 1972, 138–160), the term “intermedium” (in Latin script)
marks the musical entertainment provided between the acts (pp. 144, 147, 151, 155, 158).
Another of the early court plays, on the popular Lutheran topic Tobit the Younger, is lost,
so it is impossible to say how this play might have reflected the structural changes we are
considering here. Furthermore, Artakserksovo dejstvo was performed throughout the period
of the court theatre, so it clearly remained popular.
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Pickleherring Returns     39
The sequence of events initiated by the two spring performances represents cultural interactions of several types: simply labelling them as “Westernization” ignores the multiple strands of Western practices and how they
interacted in Moscow. Similarly, studying the court plays as a single, monolithic unit – “court theatre” – ignores the subsequent shaping of the individual
productions. The spring entertainments reflected a specific type of Western
theatrical culture, one that was public, flexible, improvisatory, and familiar to
the amateurs who happened to be available to perform it. The Esther play in
October was influenced by other types of Western dramatic traditions, especially school drama (since we should keep in mind that the playwright, Pastor
Gregorii, was also a teacher) and full-length narrative plays, particularly on
subjects favoured in German Protestant practice.70 These traditions are clearly not mutually exclusive, and the participants in Moscow’s Foreign Quarter,
especially Pastor Gregorii, would have been familiar with all of them.
A brief detour suggests how we might frame a more nuanced understanding of the notion of influence. In light of our knowledge of von Staden’s negotiations relating to the Paulsen-Velten troupe, it is worth noting that in
the famous 1620 publication of the Engelische Comedien und Tragedien,71 the
play on the Esther story (Comoedia von der Konigin Esther und hoffertigen Haman) includes the comic character Hans Knapkäse, who also plays the role
of the hangman, and the collection includes a series of short plays featuring
Pickleherring.72 In the Moscow Artakserksovo dejstvo, the comic figure Mops
similarly doubles as hangman; the name Mops comes from a German word
70 The importance of Lutheran dramatic traditions in the subjects selected for the first
Russian plays is well known. See, for example, Pervye p′esy 1972, 42, Kagan 1993, 178–
179, and, recently, Swoboda 2011. The chart of names as they appear in the play and in
various biblical texts in Artakserksovo dejstvo (1957, 300–303) includes names drawn from
17th-century Lutheran sources. Context for the Esther play in traditional Muscovite brideshows is in Martin 2012, 203–206, and more general context in contemporary politics and
court culture is in, for example, Pervye p′esy 1972 and Artakserksovo dejstvo (1957, esp. pp.
35–40). On school drama, see Pervye p′esy 1972, passim; surveys relating specifically to the
Baltic areas are in Arpe 1969, 4–10, Kampus 1997, and Dahlberg 1999, 300–303.
71 The texts of this collection are published in Spieltexte 1970 (and elsewhere), and see the
discussions, among others, in Haekel 2004, esp. pp. 116–122, 205–212 and, in the context
of the Saxon court, Watanabe-O’Kelly 2002, 166–174.
72 A similar repertoire (also with plays on the Esther and Prodigal Son subjects and several
Pickleherring entertainments) is outlined in a 1660 petition from a company headed by
Christian Buckhäußer (Bockhäuser) to the Lüneburg city council, thus reinforcing the
popularity of these subjects (Kitching 1996, 76, 89, note 82). The action of the Hans
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meaning ‘pug’, i.e., a kind of dog.73 John Stone (1968, 240, note 78) points
out that another character in the intermedio, Muischelow (Myšelov), can refer
to a dog, and the comic character Telpel (Tölpel), who appears in Temir-Aksakovo dejstvo, also has doggy connections (this was the well-known name of
Martin Luther’s dog). So, although we are not positing any specific or direct
influence from these various Esther plays (or their dogs!) on Tsar Aleksej’s
theatre, one might keep in mind that these comic lazzi in the Moscow play reflected stage actions that would have been familiar to the German playwright
and his actors, just as the spring “ballets” included comic tropes familiar to
the foreign performers.
We can make a similarly indirect point about the long-standing comparison between Rautenfels’ Orpheus and the Orpheus ballet for the Saxon
wedding of 1638, which has for so long been mentioned in writings about
the Russian theatre (for example, Findejzen 1928:1, 321–323). By identifying the actual Orpheus appearance at the Muscovite court, we have clearly
eliminated the (always remote) possibility that Tsar Aleksej might have seen
a reproduction of that performance, transported by amateur players to his
new theatrical stage. Yet the influences are worth considering, even if they are
subtle. It was not the 1638 wedding that would possibly have influenced the
German-speaking performers in Aleksej’s spring programmes, but rather the
event on which it was itself modeled: the “Great Wedding” of 1634, which
took place in Copenhagen to mark the marriage of the Danish Prince-Elect
Christian to the Saxon princess Magdalena Sibylle. This was, as Mara Wade
says in her important study, “the most spectacular court festival held in continental Europe during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), and perhaps during the entire first half of the seventeenth century” (Wade 1996, 15). This
1634 event, which also had music composed by Heinrich Schütz, included
Knapkäse character in the 1620 Esther play is summarized briefly in Cohn [1865] 1971,
73 There is another possibly relevant definition for the noun mop or mope in English: a
fool or clown (Oxford English Dictionary,, s.v. “mop”, “mope”); see
also the discussion in Hilton 1985, 135, on the links between “folly and pickleherring”. On
the role of the Mops character in the Muscovite play, see, for example, Pervye p‘esy 1972,
44, 102 (the listing of characters) and Stone 1968, 240. In the character list in the Lyon
copy of Artakserksovo dejstvo (Mazon and Cocron 1954, 54–55), in addition to Mops, a
character named Thraso is included among the figures appearing in the “Interscenia”. As
J. Stone (1968, 240) points out, this character recalls the soldier Thraso (or Traso) in the
well-known play by Terence (Eunuchus); Terence, and this particular play, were widely
known in Germany in translation (see Schade 1988, 46–67, esp. pp. 48–49).
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Pickleherring Returns     41
an opening ballet featuring Orpheus, Mercury, and even a movable hill, on
which the character Orpheus enters.74 The event was known widely, especially in Saxony, and it formed a model for other court ballets, for example
another Danish celebration, in 1640, that also featured Orpheus entering on
a movable mountain.75 So, although none of these spectacular events can be
considered as direct models or inspirations for the Muscovite performances,
it is clear that the Western performers were, as we saw above, drawing on a
repertoire of shared assumptions and tropes.76
Indeed, although there has been a great deal of speculation about Pastor
Gregorii’s theatrical experiences and influences, the two spring performances
in Moscow are really the only specific productions we can assume Gregorii
knew about. As John Stone points out, once he received his commission to
write the play, in June, Gregorii would hardly have had time to compare the
many earlier settings of the Esther story, but rather would have had to incorporate what he remembered from any previous theatrical experiences he may
have had. However, Gregorii must have heard about the February and May
programmes; not only was one of their main participants, Hasenkroeg, being
paid for work on the new project already in autumn 1672, but the two spring
productions had involved many of Gregorii’s Foreign Quarter neighbours, so
he must have had some idea of what the royal family wanted.77
In addition to speculation about Gregorii’s theatrical experiences, scholars have also noted the kinds of expectations Tsar Aleksej and other members
of the royal family may have brought with them to that memorable February
event. Although liturgical drama seems not to have been performed frequently after the 1640s, this practice would certainly have been a living memory,
and the many church processions and ceremonies were other obvious perfor74 Wade 1996, 65. The author notes (p. 64) that all but the royal spectators stood during
the performance.
75 Wade 1996, 286–287, where the author considers two possible events that might have
prompted this 1640 production. Watanabe-O’Kelly 2002 discusses traditions of court
spectacle, including plays and ballet, at the Saxon court.
76The figure of Orpheus was another such shared image. Orpheus was known as a
musician in a variety of sources close to Muscovite court circles, especially in Simeon
Polockij’s Orel rossijskij (1667), written to mark the elevation of the tsarevich, Aleksej
Alekseevič, as designated heir to the throne; see Sazonova 2006, 138–145, 290–291.
77 See Stone 1968, 245–247, based on Flemming 1958, 113–115, on Gregorii’s theatrical
experiences. Hasenkroeg’s fall payments are in Bogojavlenskij 1914, 12, 14.
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42    C. Jensen, I. Maier
mative experiences shared by members of the royal court.78 In the decade or
so before the theatre was established, Simeon Polockij brought performance
traditions of poetic recitations to the Russian court, where they were apparently quite popular in a variety of contexts.79 And, after the spring 1672 performances, the royal audience had some fledgling expectations regarding the
traditions of improvised Western comedy.
It is this new set of expectations derived from the spring events that allows
us to consider the evolution of the Muscovite court theater and the possible
motivations for this evolution. We can now observe that in their first year and
a half of work, from February 1672 to the date generally presumed for the premiere of Iudif´ in the fall of 1673, the theatrical producers in Russia, guided by
Aleksej’s tastes and preferences, seem to have been making conscious choices
from these traditions. The shifts in the structure of the full-length plays that
followed might thus be said to track these expectations in some fashion. In
other words, the plays offered at the established court theatre did not represent a static series of pre-digested Western entertainments offered to a passive audience. Indeed, our newfound knowledge concerning the content of
the immediate predecessors shows that there was nothing passive about this
process at all: the most popular elements were brought to the fore, the most
popular characters (or their actions) grew in prominence. Although these
different approaches seem evident when comparing Artakserksovo dejstvo to
Iudif´, we do not mean to imply that this conscious decision-making ceased
after the latter play, merely that the basic approach, featuring a less rigid division between comic and dramatic, seems to have settled in. Artakserksovo
dejstvo remained in the repertoire throughout the period of the court theatre,
so it was certainly popular; it is impossible to say how or if it might have been
altered throughout its roughly four-year run. (The plays by Simeon Polockij
are, as noted, somewhat different in their structure.)
78 A survey of published archival sources attesting to the popularity of the Peščnoe dejstvo
(based on Daniel 3) in the 1620s and 1630s, with a clear tapering off in the 1640s, is in
Jensen 2009, 41–44. On performative aspects of liturgical processions and ceremony, see,
for example, Flier 1994 and 1997.
79 There is a wide literature on the declamations, including many published texts; see
the important work in Sazonova 2006, esp. pp. 462–482, and the extensive references to
secondary literature cited there. In many ways, Simeon’s two play texts recall the traditions
of the declamations.
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6. Conclusions
The brief theatrical interlude at the end of Tsar Aleksej’s reign has often been
regarded as an interesting, yet fleeting, event: theatre created for an audience
of one – Aleksej – and sustained only by the tsar’s unusual curiosity. The documents we have described in our two articles reveal a vividly experienced
set of events, one that was rich and multivalent in ways previously unknown.
The theatrical interlude, from the spring performances of 1672 to the sudden death of the tsar in early 1676, thus brings unexpected qualities of late
Muscovite culture into the light: a willingness to adapt, to experiment, and
to be flexible.
Our newly-discovered documents are also productive when we view them
from a Western perspective. Anna Elisabeth Paulsen’s letter shows that these
artists apparently regarded Muscovy as a potentially lucrative market, part
of the cultural commerce of Europe. This marks the beginnings of what, by
the mid-18th century, would become a massive importation of Western performed entertainment, a process which we now see was not a violent break
with Russia’s conservative past but was part of a slowly developing cultural
As we suggested in the conclusion of our first article, one of the most intriguing aspects of these performances is their intimate, even homely, view
into the experiences of the non-professional actors. The Western, Germanspeaking performers in these “ballets” were not theatrical specialists or professionals – they simply happened to be living in Moscow at the time when
this performance opportunity (or requirement) arose. Thus the miscellany
of acts represented familiar fare for them: Pickleherring and other rambunctious comic routines; vignettes featuring well-known classical figures that
would have been known through standard school curricula (and indeed, the
very idea of theatrical performance was part of the school experience); singing and performing on the musical instruments they already knew how to
play and happened to have with them in Moscow. Although we know they
only had a week to prepare for the February performance (Rautenfels 1680,
105), it does appear that the performers had some discussions with the tsar’s
representatives, probably Matveev, for example, about the necessity of including music, which turned out to be one of the most popular items in the show.
Furthermore, our sources reveal not only the fluid and fairly efficient exchange of information throughout Europe, but also the close connections beScando-Slavica 61:1, 2015
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44    C. Jensen, I. Maier
tween diplomatic correspondence and newspaper reports (although we still
cannot tell exactly how the information came to the publishers, for instance
in Hamburg and Amsterdam). Christoff Koch had, on the one hand, deep ties
to the Swedish government, but probably his reports also made their way to
the Western press (specifically, in Hamburg); however, we still do not know
whether Koch himself provided the international news agencies with information, so this remains a topic for future research.
Almost all the reports we have presented in our work emphasise that these
two spring performances were very unusual in Muscovy; in other words, the
cultural implications of these events seem to be on the writers’ minds. So the
documents – as always – do not represent a neutral reporting, but preserve
snapshots of a dynamic series of events, with input from many sides and an
awareness that they were transmitting, even participating in, a remarkable exchange of information. Whatever else their intent, these reports helped to
cement for their readers the superiority of Western practice over that of the
amusingly backward Russians. Rautenfels, for example, stressed the low standards of the new theatrical audience in Russia, observing that “whereas this
performance would not have been able to be seen without anticipated apologies in any other place but Moscow, to the Russians it appeared unique and
artistic since the new kinds of costumes, the unfamiliar appearance of a theatre stage, even the marvelous idea that it was something foreign, and also the
strains of the music, never heard before, easily awoke their admiration” (cf.
Jensen and Maier 2013, 152). The final remarks in the Nordischer Mercurius
article highlight the same view (also with emphasis on the musical element):
“This is being written to show that something that is very common for our
German people is seen as something new in these parts” (ibid., 158).
In spite of their somewhat amused take on this series of events, however,
these diplomatic and newspaper reports bring an unaccustomed and welcome vitality. Not only do we see the Russian royal family clamouring delightedly for more, we also see a much larger than expected Western readership following these events in their newspapers. The diplomatic pouches
exiting Muscovy were thus filled not only with the minutiae of policy and
precedence, but also with attempts to portray Russian life and officialdom
through detailed descriptions of cultural events and informed commentary
on the impressions they produced. The theatre of diplomacy was, in these
circumstances, quite literally a theatre.
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We gratefully acknowledge the support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities project number RZ-51635-13 for this article. (Any
views, findings, or conclusions expressed in this article do not necessarily
represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.) We also
appreciate the support provided by The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens jubileumsfond, project number RFP120055:1) for this research. Moreover, we would like to thank John Alexander,
Norbert Angermann, Jürgen Beyer, Gunilla Dahlberg, Heiko Droste, Sabine
Dumschat, Stefano Fogelberg Rota, Martha Lahana, Aleksandr Lavrent′ev,
Anke Martens, Bärbel Rudin, Stepan Šamin, Lidija Sazonova, Julija Šustova,
Aleksandr Tolstikov, Emmanuel Waegemans, and Daniel Waugh for their advice and contributions.
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The numbering of the sources in the appendix continues from the listing in Jensen and Maier
2013. In our transcriptions, new lines are not indicated; new pages are marked with the sign
|| . The manuscript sources – originally written in Gothic style (Frakturstil) – are rendered
in Roman letters; whole words and parts of words written in Latin letters in the originals are
rendered in italics. Abbreviated forms of the German word Herr (H., Hr., etc.) are rendered
in full (Herr, Herrn, Herren). Words and letters in angled brackets are our conjectural reconstructions of lost text due to damaged originals, according to context. In the Russian quotation in source no. 9, superscript abbreviations are placed in round brackets.
No. 6 De Hambourg le 8 Avril.
Les lettres de Moskow du 1 Mars portent, que l’on y avoit regalé l’Empereur de Moskovie
d’un balet de 12 Alemans, & que sa Majesté en avoit esté si satisfaite, qu’elle ordonna qu’on
le jouast encore le lendemain en sa presence : mais que le Patriarche estant mort le même
jour, le divertissement fut differé pour quelque tems; que les Envoyés de Pologne n’avoient
plus tant de suite; qu’elle diminuoit tous les jours, & que depuis peu il en estoit parti environ
30 avec les corps de quelques Gentilshommes qui estoient decedés, & qu’on conduisoit en
Pologne; qu’il y en avoit 40 autres la plûpart Nobles qui devoient partir le lendemain; & que
ces Ministres, selon toutes les apparences, n’y feroient rien en faveur de la Pologne. [...]80
La Gazette d’Amsterdam Du Mardi 12 Avril 1672, no. 15 (National Archives, London, SP
119/14, fol. 17 resp. 20)81
No. 7 Mosco vom 28ten Maji. 1672.
[...]82 In Voriger woche haben einige Teutschen vor Ihrer Zaarischen Mtt. abermahl ein ballet
gespielet, welches bestunde von Fried, und Unfried, 4 Zeiten des Jahres, 4 Staats Personen,
Einem bettler, Pickelhering und Schwaben, 2 Schäffer und 2. Schäfferinnen, Orpheus und
80 End of the Moscow newsletter; the article continues with news from other cities (not
quoted here).
81 There are two foliations in SP 119/14, an older one and a newer one.
82 Our quotation starts on line 10 of the second page.
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54    C. Jensen, I. Maier
4. Bähren, 3 Jäger, 4. bauren, 8. Römer und Mercurius, so in allen über 6. stunden wehrete
und ihrer Zaarischen Mtt. nebst dero Boijaren, so offentlich dichte darbeij saßen, allem ansehen nach sehr wohl gefiele; die Zaarin wahr mit mehr anderem Frauen Zimmer Verborgen, daß man keine von ihnen sehen konte: nach Vollendung deßen ließen Ihre Zaarische
Mtt. durch Artemon Sergeiewitz sich bedancken, und wardt ihnen Ihrer Zaarischen Maijestet
Tafel, wie auch jedwedem ein paar Zobel zu bekommen angesaget. Dem Obristen Nicolaus
von Staden ist vor einigen Tagen sich zur Reijse fertig zu halten angesaget worden, und hat
er || darauf schon seinen Abschied erhalten, und gedenckt er künfftigen Montag von hinnen
auf Naugardt, und Riga zu gehen. So viel ich vernehmen kann, so soll er nach Cuhrlandt undt
Brandenburg reisen, und von dannen einige allhier nöthig seijende Arbeits Leute anhero verschaffen; es ist ihme auch freij gegeben, daß er auf Stockholm reijsen, und um einen heiligen
Cörper, so unweit Nöteburg in einem verwüsteten Kloster lieget, anhalten, und zugleich wegen der Gesandten Zusammenkunfft von sich selbst discouriren, und waß er darvon vernimmet, melden soll: so soll er auch bemühet seijn, ob er auß Schweden ein paar oder mehr
Personen, die beij den Kupferbergen zu gebrauchen wehren, mitbringen könne.
Ein Schreiber auß der Posolschen Pricaes, nahmens Iemelian Ignatioff Okraintzoff wird Vor
Envoye naher Pohlen gesandt, die Ankunft von hiesigen Herren Großgesandten, alß Wasilij
Semenowitz Wollinskoi, mit beijhabender Suitte, anzukündigen, welchen die erwehnte Gesandten so fort nachfolgen sollen.
RA Stockholm, Livonica II, vol. 180 (not foliated)
No. 8 (Philip Vinhagen from Novgorod to A. Brandes, 29 May 1672)
<Den> 18 dießes haben in Mosco Einige teusche Kauffleute <fohr> Ihr Zaars Maijtt: Ein
ballet getantzet, worüber Ihr Zaars. <Ma>ijtt: sich sehr Ergetzet sollen haben, die Zarinne
soll auch <mi>t zu gesehen haben, Wie berichtet wirt, so soll sie unverdeckt <g>eseßen haben, welchs waß seltzames zu hören ist, weilen vohr dehm sein Lebtag Nicht solchs geschehen ist, Man ver<m>einet die dentzers wehrden Ein gut recompans dafohr bekommen, Der
Herr Auß der Paßolschen pricase Artemon Sergewitz, welche die 4te fraw geheirathet hat, Mitt
Consens der Geistlichkeit Weilen Es nun wieder Ihr Gesetz ist, daß keiner die 4te fraw heirahten darff, Vndt verflucht ist, alß hat Ihm der hießige Miterpoliet, (so itzo in Mosco) seine
fraw wieder nehmen laßen. Wie Man aber itzo beij der Post vernimbt, so hat der Miterpolit
Ihm die frau wieder gegeben, Undt den segen druber gesprochen, alßo weilen Er dießes Ihr
Zaars Maijtt: zu Gefallen Gethan, <a>lß vermeint Man der Miterpolit, wirt dadurch patriarch
<w>erden, Welchs sonst Nicht geschehen könte, summa sie Endern <als>o in allen Ihren
Wercken, Es scheint sie lernen Es fon den Außlendern.
AHL, Novgorodfahrer, no. 162, fol. 300v83
No. 9 (Anna Elisabeth Paulsen to Nicolaj von Staden)
Anno 1673 den 4 Aprill Kopenhagen.
83 This folio numbering (in Russian: “300 об.”) is only one of the existing foliations; it is
from the period when these documents were kept in the Russian archive (RGADA).
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Wohl Edler, Gestreng und Mann Vester Herr Obrister höchst-geneigter Patron.
Meines schwiegersohns schreiben, welches der Herr Obriste auß Riga nach Königsberg
hat gelangen laßen, ist unß Erst den 3 dieses Monats alß Gestriges Tages zu handen kommen,
daß also solches nicht habe beantworden können ist nicht meine sondern deß postmeisters
schult der es in Königsberg so lange behalden. Itzo aber dienet zur antwordt, daß wir willens
wahren, vorgangenen herbst wieder nach Riga zu kommen, und von dar nach Muscau seiner
Zarzen Maijest. mit unßern Comoedien auff zu warden, weil wir aber von Ihrer Maijestet, von
Dennemarck nicht haben beurlaubt werden können, haben wir es wiewohl ungerne doch
müßen anstehen laßen, Weil ich nun auß deß Herr Obristen, wie auch seines Herrn Vettern
schreiben wieder um auffs neue gesehen, daß Ihre Szarische Maijtt. beliebung tragen, unßere
spiehle zu sehen, und auff waß Condition wir ein und auß dem Landt kommen können, haben
wir unß auch wieder auffs Neue Resolvirt demselben zu zu Eilen, Zu waß Ende wir auch Nun
schon auß Copenhagen verreiset, auß welcher Statt wir || zwar noch nicht kommen wehren,
wan nicht der eine Königliche Printz Todes verblichen wehre. Wir Reisen nachr Lübeck, und
von dar werden wir wilß Gott gegen den Herbst nachr Rijga kommen, und dar wie unß der
Herr Obriste versprochen so lange agiren biß wir von Ihren Zartzen Maijestät werden abgefordert werden, daß der Herr Obriste alß ein gueter patron der Comoedianten solche große
mühe unßert wegen angewendet, können wir nicht gnuegsaem mit Danck erkennen. Wen
wir aber persönlich erscheinen, soll mit unßern wenigen Diensten dem Herrn Obristen allermöglichstes fleißes auffgewardet und gedienet werden. Der Herr Obriste hat auch melthung
gethan daß wir unß um einen gueten sänger und Laudenisten umthun solten, dahin bemühen wir unß täglich, alleine wegen der weit abgelegenen Reise will sich noch niemant mit
unß dar zu bequemen. Solte ich wie ich zwar nicht verhoffe keinen bekommen können,
werden sie sich mit dem Jenigen waß wir sonst vorstellen, werden schon Vergnügen laßen.
Waß Maginen anbelangt, dieselben sollen so guet es möglich schon verferdiget werden. Im
übrigen zweiffle ich amgeringsten an dem Versprochenen nicht, den der Herr Obriste weiß
daß es eine grose Reise und schwehre unkosten erfordert. Dieweil wir unß auch so viel ||
versäumen, und andern so <lang>e den Verdienst in Teutschlandt laßen müßen? Wie ich den
auch von dem Herrn abgesanden, welcher alhier sich befindet ein recomendations schreiben
erlanget, welches ich den beij unßrer darkunfft selbsten über reichen will. Ich habe die Ehre
gehabt daß ich 3 mahl beij Ihm zur Taffel gewesen, alda er mir den guete præmissen gethan,
und an den Herrn Obristen Müntlich recomendirt hat, da er mir auch befohlen seinent wegen,
den Herrn Obristen, zum freundtlichsten zu grüßen. Waß hierauff erfolgen wirt hoffe ich in
Rijga zu vernehmen, da ich den von dem Herrn Obristen eine gewünschte antwort erwardte.
Im Mittels befehle dem Herrn Obristen Gottes schutz und bin nechst hertzlicher Begrüßung
E. Wohl Edlen gestrengigkeiten, in Ehren alle Zeit gehorsambst- und willigste
Anna Elisabeth Paulsen
P.S. Mein Mann solte dem Herrn Obristen selbsten antworden, aber er ist nachr Hamburgk
Scando-Slavica 61:1, 2015
56    C. Jensen, I. Maier
Downloaded by [Uppsala universitetsbibliotek] at 05:05 10 August 2015
On the reverse side, fol. 95v: “Mons: Mons: Nicolaij Von Staden Seiner Zartzen Maijestätt von
Moscou Wohlbestalter Obrister, a Moscow” and (on the same side, upside down, in another
hand): “Mist Negellof”.
There is also a note about the receipt, in Russian: “Подал в Посолском приказе
полковникъ Миколаи фан Стаденъ мая въ SI [16] де(нь) н(ы)нешняго РПА-го [181 =
1673] год<у>”.
RGADA, f. 150, op. 1, 1672, no. 1, fol. 93r-v, 95 r-v84
84 The letter is on fols. 93 and 95; fol. 94 is a small piece of paper added in the archive,
with a 19th-century note about the context of the letter.
Scando-Slavica 61:1, 2015
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