Recalling the art of Galina Vishnevskaya – by Jeremy Eichler

Renowned Russian Soprano Galina Vishnevskaya died in Moscow earlier this month at age 86.The musical past does not always recede at a uniform speed, measured coolly in years or decades. Sometimes an artist’s death can make an entire era feel suddenly more distant.

That was the case with the passing this month of the Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, one of the last prominent links to a legendary chapter of Soviet musical life.

As the dominant female vocalist of the postwar era at the Bolshoi Theater, Vishnevskaya was also one of the great sopranos of the 20th century. This was due not only to her voice — earthy yet lustrous, flecked with silver, and capable of a prophetic intensity — but also to her astonishing theatrical gifts, an ability to create a burningly vivid reality within the life of a single song.


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