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MOSCOW, December 13 (Itar-Tass) — The diseased opera singer, Galina Vishnevskaya, is a true representative of Russian intelligentsia. “She gave all her energy and soul to art and other people. Our task is to continue her cause,” Sergei Kapkov, the head of the Moscow culture department, said at a farewell ceremony held for Vishnevskaya at her Center of Opera Singing in Moscow on Thursday.
“Those who are present here today have gathered to say the last good-bye not only to Galina Vishnevskaya but to the entire era and the theatre in which the star of her talent used to shine. Galina Vishnevskaya left the Center of Opera Singing to us set up to share her knowledge and rich experience with young talents. The bar of her mastery was very high. Vishnevskaya never obeyed the system that exerted pressure on her. She always marched through life with her head raised high,” Kapkov told journalists.
Sergei Stadler, a world famous violinist from St. Petersburg, said that the departure of such great people always symbolized the end of an era. “Galina Vishnevskaya and her husband, the world famous musician Mstislav Rostropovich, was a star couple, the symbol of an era, of a system and struggle against it,” Stadler said.
Stage Director Ivan Popovski described Vishnevskaya’s death as an irretrievable loss. “Galina Vishnevskaya was the guardian of lofty traditions of theatre who defended great music and the synthesis of harmony,” Popovski stressed.
Plenty of Vishnevskaya’s fans and admirers, her pupils and artists, including singer Makvala Kasrashvili and Irina Bogacheva, ballet dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Anatoly Iksanov, the Bolshoi Theatre’s general director; Alexander Sokolov, the rector of the Moscow Conservatoire, Stage Director Dmitry Bertman, conductor Vladimir Minin, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Russia Polad Byulbyul ogly, Natalya Solzhenitsyna, the wife of the late Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and her son Stepan.
Natalya Solzhenitsyna said that Vishnevskaya, the People’s Artist of the USSR, was a unique personality and a great person.
“We should pray that Russia doesn’t get impoverished and that the Lord sends us such great people without whom we are going to grow small from time to time,” Solzhenitsyna went on to say. She added that Galina Vishnevskaya was passionate and over talented. “She was a strong and honest person who thought about lofty things rather than herself,” Solzhenitsyna emphasized.
Solzhenitsyna’s son Stepan agreed that Vishnevskaya was a unique personality whom all of us would miss.
Natalya Solzhenitsyna said that Vishnevskaya’s departure was a great “personal loss” for her.
“Our friendship started 43 years ago. These people are like our relatives. This family is dear to us not abstractly but in real terms. Our sons were born under Slava’s and Galya’s roof. It was very hard for us to part with Slava. It’s no less hard to be saying good-bye to Galya. She was part of our life. So we are crying about ourselves rather than her. Her life has reached the ocean of eternity while we remain,” Solzhenitsyna said.
The Soviet authorities started persecuting Galina Vishnevskaya and her husband, conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, since the late 1960s. However, the family didn’t hesitate to give shelter to writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn in their country-house. In retaliation, the authorities cancelled a number of their guest concerts and recordings at the radio. Vishnevskaya and Rostropovich were banned from travelling abroad on guest tours. Finally, the family left for the United States in 1974. Vishnevskaya and Rostropovich were stripped of Soviet citizenship four years later for their human rights activities.
Galina Vishnevskaya died in Moscow on December 11 at the age of 86. She will be buried at the Novodevichye cemetery next to her husband Mstislav Rostropovich on December 14.