Magazine article Gramophone

Galina Vishnevskaya

Magazine article Gramophone

Galina Vishnevskaya

Article excerpt

Soprano

Born October 25, 1926

Died December 11, 2012

Galina Vishnevskaya's autobiography, Galina: a Russian Story, tells a blistering tale of early poverty, life-threatening illnesses, against-the-odds survival through the Siege of Leningrad and a glittering parade of artistic successes--enough triumphs and disasters for two or three lifetimes, not just one.

A God-given voice and the determination to throw herself heart and soul into every role saw her rise quickly to become first the Bolshoi Opera's leading soprano and then a national treasure. In the 1950s and '60s Vishnevskaya was the reigning operatic soprano in the Soviet Union. Restrictions on travel meant that she was able to fulfil relatively few engagements abroad but famous she was and, following her marriage to the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, the couple's joint celebrity made them the Soviet Union's golden couple.

Shostakovich composed major new works for both of them and hardly less important was the relationship the pair enjoyed with Britten. …

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