The soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, who has died aged 86, coloured her performances of opera, and especially of Russian song, so beautifully that full comprehension was not essential for enjoyment. Of course, once you did understand the words, you realised how much meaning she brought to them.
Possessed of a striking physical presence with lustrous dark hair, she was such a natural actor that she became the star of her generation at the Bolshoi opera company in Moscow, forging artistic relationships with the stage director Boris Pokrovsky and the conductor Alexander Melik-Pashaev. And – appropriately for a performer who sang with all the skill of an instrumentalist – for more than half a century she was married to Mstislav Rostropovich, not just a great cellist, but also a considerable conductor and pianist.
Their marriage – her third