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Russian opera singer auctions family collection


Galina Vishnevskaya, a famous Russian opera singer and the wife of deceased cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, plans to auction off the family`s collection of Russian art to maintain her charitable foundations.

"The money will go to support two funds - the family one ("Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya") and the children`s fund, In the name of Russian Children`s Health and Future, which has been operating for about 15 years already. It all has to be maintained and paid for," she said.

The singer said she made the decision to sell the collection together with her husband before his death.

Vishnevskaya abandoned opera singing years ago, and after her husband`s death found it difficult to pay for the collection`s maintenance, including insurance and security expenditures.

She said the decision to sell the collection was not an easy one, but "life is life, and one should put things straight while of sound mind."

The art collection, worth about $26-40 million, is to be sold off September 18 and 19 at Sotheby`s auction house in London.

The collection, which was put together by the two remarkable musicians over a 30-year period, includes a total of 450 objects -- paintings, porcelain statuettes, vessels, vases, ivory statuettes and miniature portraits from the couple`s London and Paris homes.

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