Vishnevskaya, Galina (Pavlovna)

views updated

Vishnevskaya, Galina (Pavlovna)

Vishnevskaya, Galina (Pavlovna), prominent Russian soprano; b. Leningrad, Oct. 25,1926. After vocal studies with Vera Garina in Leningrad, she sang in operetta. In 1952 she joined the operatic staff of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, where her roles were Violetta, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and an entire repertoire of soprano parts in Russian operas. In 1955 she married Mstislav Rostropovich, with whom she frequently appeared in concert. She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. on Nov. 6,1961, as Aida. Owing to the recurrent differences that developed between Rostropovich and the cultural authorities of the Soviet Union (Rostropovich had sheltered the dissident writer Solzhenitsyn in his summer house), they left Russia in 1974 and settled in the U.S. when Rostropovich was appointed music director of the National Sym. Orch. in Washington, D.C., in 1977. In March 1978, both he and Vishnevskaya, as “ideological renegades/’ were stripped of their Soviet citizenship by a decree of the Soviet government. Her autobiography was publ. as Galina: A Russian Story (N.Y., 1984). After Gorbachev’s rise to power in her homeland, her Soviet citizenship was restored in 1990.


C. Samuel, Mstislav Rostropovich and G. V.: Russia, Music, and Liberty: Conversations with Claude Samuel (Portland, Ore., 1995).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

More From