By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com April 24 2001 12:00 AM ET
Tchaikovsky photo and letter being auctioned
The descendants of Eugene OudinVictorian-era singer, photographer, and inseparable friend of Tchaikovskyare auctioning off one of Oudins photographs of the composer in Perth, Scotland, according to The Scotsman. The portrait is accompanied by a personal letter penned by Tchaikovsky. Oudin was a singer known for his exceptionally sweet, light baritone voice, and it was reported in The Sun of December 17, 1893, that after Oudins first appearance in London, Tchaikovskys was among the friendly spirits that greeted him, and in time the two became almost inseparable. Oudin is thought to have taken the portrait during one of Tchaikovskys visits to London. Lt. Col. Richard Spencer, Oudins great-grandson, points out, In those days photography was relatively new, and it was quite a good way to nurture a friendshiptake a flattering picture and submit it to your acquaintance. The friendship was truncated by the composers death, officially from cholera, although recent evidence maintains that he was tried by members of his old school regarding his homosexuality and it was decreed he commit suicide. As a tribute to the composer, Oudin sang the title role in Tchaikovskys opera, Eugene Onegin, at the Imperial Opera in St. Petersburg, to rapturous acclaim according to Spencer. The remnants of this friendship are expected to fetch £150-£200 at auction, though auctioneer and valuer Lindsay Burns notes, It only takes a couple of interested rival bidders to push the price up. It will be interesting to see what happens.