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Galina Vishnevskaya (1926-2012), Opera singer

Sitter in 1 portrait
Russian soprano Vishnevskaya was a star of the Bolshoi opera company in Moscow, and along with her husband, the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, became close friends of the British musicians Britten and Pears in the 1960s. Britten would write the soprano part in War Requiem (1962) for her, although the Soviet authorities prevented her from singing at its premiere. Three years later, while staying in Russia, Britten wrote The Poet's Echo, based on texts by Pushkin, to showcase her dramatic range.

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Benjamin Britten with Peter Pears, Galina Vishnevskaya, Mstislav Rostropovich and Marion Harewood

by E.I. Iavno
bromide print, 1963
On display in Room 31 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x15245