The Spaso House Ball

Bulgakov's wife Elena Sergeevna says that first there was a lesser ball that took place in Woland's bedroom, but Bulgakov replaced it by the grand ball and destroyed the old manuscript. The luxury of the grand ball reflects a reception the Bulgakovs attended at the residence of the American ambassador William Bullitt 22 April 1935.

Spaso House, the American Ambassador's Residence

Elena Sergeevna described the reception, which she called a "ball," in her journal for 23 April, 1935:

"Dancing in the hall with columns, colored lights from above. Behind a net, masses of birds flying. An orchestra imported from Stockholm. M. A. was captivated most of all by the director's tails--to his ankles.

Dinner in a dining room specially attached to the mansion for the ball, with separate tables. In the corners small pens with kids, lambs, baby bears. Along the walls--cages with roosters. At around 3 a.m. accordions played and the roosters started singing. Style Russe.

Masses of tulips, roses--from Holland.

On the upper floor a barbecue. Red roses, red French wine. Downstairs--everywhere champagne, cigarettes.

We wanted to leave around 3, but the Americans wouldn't let us Around 6 we got in their embassy Cadillac and went home. We brought home a huge bouquet of tulips."

(Quoted in Sokolov, Bulgakovskaia entsiklopediia, 139)


There is now a Spaso House Website c/o USIS!