Composers / Fryderyk Chopin / Places catalog

Vilnius (Wileński) Hotel

The outstanding singer Henriette Sontag stayed at the luxurious Vilnius (Wileński) Hotel on ul. Bielańska in 1829 and again in 1830. It was during her second stay, from May to June 1830, that the beautiful and talented soprano had the chance to become acquainted with Fryderyk Chopin. This contact must have given him great pleasure, as in a letter to Tytus Woyciechowski dated 15 May he gushed: ‘And so learn now, my little soul, that Miss Sontag will most certainly come in June, and perhaps toward the end of May. […] I also think that you will not pass up the opportunity to hear Miss Sontag. How grateful I am to this Miss Sontag!’

Henriette Sontag (real name Gertrude Walpurgis Sontag) was four years Chopin’s senior and was in any case, as Henryk Nowaczyk notes, no longer a single woman. In 1828, she had secretly married Count Carlo Rossi, secretary at the embassy of the Kingdom of Sardinia in The Hague. In 1830, she was at the height of her career, having made prodigious progress over the previous decade. The only person who wished her ill was Ludwig Rellstab, who in 1827, hiding behind the nom de plume ‘Freimund Zuschauer’, had penned a nasty lampoon entitled ‘Henriette oder die schöne Sängerin’ [Henriette, or the beautiful singer]. Rellstab, who was to become a virulent critic of Chopin’s work, eventually spent several months in prison for libelling Sontag.

Although Sontag’s schedule was more hectic than usual during her stay in Warsaw, Chopin (who seemed happy with the arrangement) was given the privilege of being with her thanks to Antoni Radziwiłł. ‘You won’t believe how much pleasure I had in getting better acquainted, that is to say, on a sofa in the room […]. I would not have visited her at all, but she demanded to see me on account of one song that Radziwiłł had arranged for her, and he had me transcribe it. […] Miss Sontag isn’t beautiful, but she is pretty to the highest degree. […] She is of an indescribable goodness. […] In morning dress, she is a million times prettier and more pleasant than in a formal dress in the evening, although those who haven’t seen her in the morning adore her‘, enthused the young composer, clearly enchanted with the artist and the situation.

The meetings came to an end in early June, when Sontag, after giving five concerts, left Warsaw to embellish a gathering of the Prussian royal family with her singing. Chopin eventually informed Tytus Woyciechowski, in a long letter full of rapture over the singer, that ‘Miss Sontag, who told me yesterday with her lovely little lips that she was traveling to Fischbach at the behest of His Majesty the King of Prussia. […] When she returns, she will give her concerts until the 22nd […]. Just come here to rest a bit in the bosom of friendship after your rural travails. Miss Sontag will also sing for you, and thus you will gather new strength to face your tribulations.‘

Place Category
Antonin Manors / Palaces / Castles
Antoni Brzezina’s bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Apartment of Dominik Magnuszewski Flats
Apartment of Stefan Witwicki Flats
Apartment of the family of Alfons Brandt Flats
Augsburg Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity Churches / Places of worship
Belvedere Appearances
Bielany, Camaldolese monastery Churches / Places of worship
Blue Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
‘Botanika’ Other
Brochów Churches / Places of worship
Brühl Palace Appearances
Buchholtz’s instrument store Other
Casimir Palace Flats
Chopin Monument in Łazienki Park Other
Czapski (Krasiński) Palace Appearances, Manors / Palaces / Castles
Dal Trozzo bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Duszniki Zdrój Hotels / Inns
Dziewanowski home Flats
Engraving studio of Fr Izydor Józef Cybulski and Antoni Płachecki Education
Franciszek Klukowski bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Fryderyk Chopin Museum Other
Fryderyk Skarbek’s apartment Flats
Gdańsk Hotels / Inns
Gładkowskis' apartment Flats
Golub Other
Holy Cross Church Churches / Places of worship
Home of Jan Matuszyński Flats
‘Honoratka’ Coffeehouses
Jabłonowski Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Jan Böhm’s townhouse Flats
Kalisz Other
Kikół Manors / Palaces / Castles
Kolbergs' apartment Flats
Kowalewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Kozłowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Krakow Other
Ludwik Dmuszewski’s house Flats
Magnus's bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Marceli Celiński’s apartment Flats
Maurycy Mochnacki’s home Flats
Miss Kicka's Salon in Lubomirski Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
National Theatre Appearances
Obory Churches / Places of worship
Obrowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Ojców Other
‘Old’ Merchants' Hall Appearances
Patisserie Lourse Coffeehouses
Pieskowa Skała Other
Płock Other
‘Pod Kopciuszkiem’ and ‘Dziurka’ Coffeehouses
Poturzyn Manors / Palaces / Castles
Powązki Cemeteries
Poznań Other
Presbytery of St Jadwiga (Hedwig) parish church in Milanówek Other
Pruszak Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Residence of Józef Reinschmidt’s parents Flats
Rościszewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Sanniki Manors / Palaces / Castles
Saxon Palace Flats
Saxon Post Office Other
Skating rink Other
Sochaczew Other
Sokołowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Staszic Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Strzyżew Manors / Palaces / Castles
Szafarnia Manors / Palaces / Castles
Toruń Other
Turzno Manors / Palaces / Castles
Ugoszcz Manors / Palaces / Castles
‘U Brzezińskiej’ Coffeehouses
Viceroy's Palace Appearances
Vilnius (Wileński) Hotel Hotels / Inns
Visitandine Church of St Joseph Churches / Places of worship
Waplewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Warsaw Other
Warsaw Charitable Society Appearances
Warsaw Conservatory Appearances
‘Wiejska Kawa’ Coffeehouses
Wieliczka Other
Wojciech Żywny’s apartment Flats
Wola Tollhouse Other
Wrocław Appearances
Żelazowa Wola Flats
Żychlin Manors / Palaces / Castles