There were some reports in the Russian press last week that the 80-year-old retired soprano and teacher had fallen seriously ill following her husband's death and had been hospitalized.
But the press office of the Vishnevskaya Opera Center in the Russian capital confirmed in a statement today (reported by the Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies) that "Galina Pavlovna does in fact have pneumonia, but it is not very serious. She has been examined by doctors and prescribed treatment at home. On the whole [she] is feeling well enough and is currently at her dacha."
Vishnevskaya, now 80, was for many years the prima donna assoluta of the Bolshoi Theater and gave many acclaimed recitals in Moscow and elsewhere with Rostropovich at the piano. The couple became involved with dissident politics in the early 1970s, most famously by giving refuge to author Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his wife in their country home for nearly four years. Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya left the USSR in 1974 and were stripped of their Soviet citizenship four years later.
After the Communist regime collapsed, the couple's Russian citizenship was restored and Vishnevskaya returned to Moscow and became an honorary professor at the Conservatory there. In 2002 she opened her long-planned Vishnevskaya Opera Center to provide international-level training for young singers.