Famous Russian Soprano Dies At 86

Galina Vishnevskaya, the soprano, who has died at the age of 86, rose to international stardom in the 1960s when she and her husband, the cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, were celebrated as the Soviet Union’s golden couple; in 1974, however, they were forced into unwilling exile and became non-persons in their native land. I once went to a private party at which the couple were present. I chatted with them. When Madame’s drink was empty, I asked her if she would like another. “Of course,” she replied, as if I was daft to have even assumed the answer would be nyet.

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