Polina Stasova, née Kuznetsova (1839-1918), a well-known public figure, was married to Dmitrii Stasov.
. . .
[During winter of 1870 or 1871 Dmitrii Stasov organized a musical event with the participation of Anton Rubinstein.] All our musicians, i.e., Musorgsky, Borodin, Cui, Rimsky-Korsakov, and of course, Voldemar and Meyer were present.1 When they began talking about Russian music, the atmosphere between Rubinstein and the whole Russian group immediately became strained. Gathering some courage, I said: “All the arguments, all the contradictions fade away when Anton Grigorievich enthralls us with his magical playing! Let’s go to the drawing room, Anton Grigorievich.” Everybody applauded my suggestion, and marvelous sounds soon began to flow, entrancing everyone. The evening ended with a dinner, as was the custom.
[In the Purgolds’ house] an entire opera was set up. Musorgsky’s Boris was performed in its entirety. The orchestra was in the hands of the talented Nadezhda Nikolaevna, while the female solo was sung by Aleksandra Nikolaevna, who also performed all the male parts; and when she could not handle one of those parts, then Musorgsky and Vel’iaminov2 would join in, Musorgsky singing the part of Boris himself, as well as those of Pimen, the Pretender, and the two tramps—Varlaam and Misail. These treasured evenings left wonderful impressions on one’s soul. Many visitors would come, led by Vl[adimir] Vas[ilievich] Stasov. Hartmann the painter and Antokol’sky also came.3
[During the years 1870-1872 at Dmitrii Stasov’s] there were some really special evenings to which the two talented Purgold sisters were invited.
[During the winter of 1873-1874] we never missed the Thursdays at Dmitrii Stasov’s. Their constant guests included . . . A[leksandr] P[orfirievich] Borodin; our beloved Musorgsky; the dear Stasov brothers, Aleksandr and Vladimir; the deeply loved Nikolai Vasilievich, and his niece Natasha Pivarova. Once in a while Vasilii Matveevich Clark4 would also come; but our most assiduous visitor was our beloved A[leksandr] V[asilievich] Meyer, who was always witty, and always original in his judgments. We had interesting conversations and music. Musorgsky shared the novelties of his work with us. Once in a while Il’inskii5 would come and sing for us. A[nton] A[ugustovich] Herke would also come.6 Then they would play eight-hand piano versions.