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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Exiled Diva Dishes Dirt

Next month, the autobiography of the famous opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya will be published in Moscow in a new, enlarged edition. Since 1984, when it was first published in English in the United States, the book has been translated into more than 20 languages, graced many best-seller lists, and garnered several prestigious awards including one from the French Academy of Arts.


Galina was also published in Russian, but at first only in Paris, since Vishnevskaya and her husband Mstislav Rostropovich were exiled from the U.S.S.R. in 1974 and were stripped of their Soviet citizenship soon after. And all books connected with them were banned until the spring of 1991 when Novosti issued the first edition.


In the book, Vishnevskaya describes with great honesty and literary skill both her professional career as a singer and her personal struggle for the 48 years during which she lived beneath its shadow, against the oppressive regime governing the Soviet Union.


The new edition will be published by Soglasiye and boasts a special "supplement" filled with formerly secret documents concerning the high-profile pair from KGB and Communist Party archives.


Vishnevskaya has said the contents of most of these documents were anticipated by her and her husband. However, certain things came as an unpleasant shock, such as the vituperative "collective letter" denouncing Galina which leading actors, artists and musicians from the Bolshoi Theater sent to Leonid Brezhnev in April 1974.


"I decided to publish these documents," Vishnevskaya explained, "mainly for the benefit of those people who don't want to believe in the grim realities of the Soviet system.


"Let them see for themselves! It is high time they stop saying they did not know anything. Let them know! After all, my whole book is aimed at combatting lies and forgetfulness."