Russian President Vladimir Putin has hosted a birthday party for world-renowned Russian cellist and conductor Mistislav Rostopovitch, who has turned 80. Married to famous soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, the guest of honour was hailed by Vladimir Putin: “Everything Rostropovitch touches, whether it is the bow of a cello or a conductor’s baton, gives off a fragrance of talent.”
The Russian President also acknowledged the celebrated musician’s defence of human rights. He was a champion of civil rights during Soviet rule, when the Kremlin stripped him of his citizenship. Living in exile, he returned to his homeland after the fall of communism. Now in poor health, Rostropovitch is widely regarded as a giant of classical music.