Galina Vishnevskaya - the owner of a unique soprano, a prima of the Bolshoi Theatre and all-world stage, and a great teacher totally devoted to her students – lived a pre-eminently fascinating life, even after she turned 90. She taught, staged, acted in cinema, did charity work, and at the same time managed to look perfectly and keep in shape. “I should live, once I have come to world, and live as beautifully and adequately as possible”, - Vishnevskaya said. She adored life...
Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya was born on October 25, 1926 in Leningrad, into the family of Pavel Ivanov. She spent her childhood in Kronstadt. The girl had an inherently trained voice.
She survived the Leningrad blockade during World War II. At the age of sixteen she served in air defense forces. As an 18-year-old girl she joined the Leningrad Regional Operetta Theater and quite soon began to perform solo parts. Galina also worked in the Bolshoi Theater, where she performed more than 30 parts.
Vishnevskaya took her surname from her first husband. Her second husband was the operetta stage director Mark Ilyich Rubin. For the third time Galina married the well-known cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, in ensemble with whom she performed in the most prestigious concert venues of the world.
In the 1970s Galina had to go abroad for long touring. In 1978 the Decree of Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR Vishnevskaya and Rostropovich were deprived of their nationality, honorary titles and awards. Soon they left for America, where Rostropovich was invited to be the chief conductor of the National Symphonic Orchestra of the USA.
Galina Vishnevskaya sang on all the largest stages of the world (Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, Grand Opera, La Scala, the Munich Opera, etc.). Among her records made in the period of expatriation, there is a full edition of Prokofiev’s opera War and Peace and five disks with romances by the Russian composers Glinka, Dargomyzhsky, Musorgsky, Borodin and Tchaikovsky.
In 1982, following her triumphal performance of Tatyana’s party on stage of Grand Opera in Paris, Vishnevskaya left the professional opera stage and got engaged in teaching. When she stopped to sing everybody was perplexed, but Galina considered that it was better to quit a few years earlier, than just one day later. But she did not leave concert activity entirely; she worked as a drama actress, recorded music, gave master classes, and wrote the autobiographical book “Galina”, which was published in many European languages.
In 1990 Vishnevskaya and Rostropovich were given their nationality back, and in the early 1990s Galina Pavlovna returned to Russia. She became an emeritus professor of the Moscow Conservatory, and took the stage of the Moscow Art Theatre as a drama actress. She played leading roles in the movies "Provincial Benefit Performance" and "Alexander".
The People’s Actress of the USSR and RSFSR, Dame of the Order of Merits for the Fatherland of the 2nd and 3rd degree and the French Legion of Honour, a Doctor Honoris Causa of a number of universities, and a holder of various awards, Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya was awarded lots of state and public awards.
In her last years she headed the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Singing Center in Moscow. She was the chairman of the jury of Open International Competition of Opera Singers, the president of the All-Russian Fair of Singers in Yekaterinburg, and patronized Children's Musical Theater.
On December 11, 2012 the talented singer and beautiful woman Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya died at the age of 86 in the bosom of her family in Moscow.