Galina Vishnevskaya’s 95th Birthday – Today’s Doodle, illustrated guest artist Darya Shnykina, celebrates the 95th birthday of one of the greatest Russian opera singers of the 20th century—Galina Vishnevskaya.
Galina Pavlovna Ivanova was born on this day in 1926 in Leningrad, Russia (modern-day St. Petersburg) and became enthralled with opera at 10 years old after hearing Tchaikovsky’s epic “Eugene Onegin.” While walking the streets of Leningrad in the early 1950s, Vishnevskaya stumbled upon an invitation to audition for the Bolshoi Theater—Russia’s most prestigious opera hall. She blew the judges away with her audition, earning a spot as the year’s only auditioner accepted into the Bolshoi troupe.
In 1953, her childhood dreams were realized at the Bolshoi as she portrayed the lead character Tatyana in “Eugene Onegin” with a fresh interpretation of a classic character that became her signature role. This marked the genesis of a virtuosic opera career that took Vishnevskaya to venues around the world—often with her beloved dachshund Pooks in tow—from New York’s Metropolitan Opera to Helsinki’s Finnish National Opera. It was at the latter venue that she gave her final performance of Tatyana before retiring in 1982.
As a devoted humanitarian, Vishnevskaya founded the non-profit children’s welfare organization Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Foundation in 1991 alongside her husband, the world-class cellist Maestro Rostropovich. She also founded the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre in 2002 to provide a home for aspiring opera singers. Both organizations carry on her legacy of helping and inspiring others to this day.
Happy birthday, Galina Vishnevskaya!
Early drafts of the Doodle below
You can find more about Galina Vishnevskaya’s 95th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page