March 5, 1953. Stalin Died.
(Also Prokofiev. Also, in 1966, Anna Akhmatova)
Kelly O’Neill, in the Harvard History department, is doing some great data visualizations of issues in nineteenth-century Russian history. She calls it The Imperiia Project.
Among other things, she’s got a nice display of a set of playing cards representing various regions in the Russian Empire, illustrated with drawings and basic info about each region or province.
Vishnevskaya was the dominant soprano of her generation but she was also a courageous human rights activist in the Soviet Union. I’m not an opera lover, but Vishnevskaya wrote a riveting memoir that includes harrowing, unforgettable stories about surviving the siege of Leningrad.
I saw Ravi Shankar at the Fillmore East in one of his first US concerts as he was traveling around with his riveting performances of classical Indian music and blowing all of our minds open to another musical tradition.