Early life and career
Her father, a famous opera singer Pavel Koshetz (ru: Павел Алексеевич Кошиц; 1863 - March 2, 1904), committed suicide. She was then 12 years.
She was born into a family of intellectuals in Kiev, then moved to Moscow and became an opera singer. In 1908—13 she studied in Moscow State Conservatory (professor of solo singing U. Mazetti), her piano teachers were N. Shishkin, K. Igumnov, S. Taneev). Having received voice lessons in France from the retired dramatic soprano Felia Litvinne, she sang leading roles in opera and performed in principal opera houses across Russia and Europe. In the late 1910s she performed at the Petrograd Conservatory and was accompanied by then-unknown Vladimir Horowitz. She had initially resisted being accompanied by the unknown student, but afterward insisted that only he could accompany her there; she subsequently programmed some of Horowitz's songs.
In 1920 she went to America and joined the Chicago Opera Association where she sang in the premiere of Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges (1921). She later performed for the Russian Opera Company in New York and on tour in South America. At the end of the 1920s she was active in France, where she appeared in the French premiere of Sadko.
Known for her overly-extravagant life style, her vocal powers declined in the 1930s and in 1940 she retired to Hollywood where she made a living as a voice teacher and restaurateur (a venture that ended in bankruptcy in 1942). She also appeared in bit parts in several Hollywood movies. She died in Santa Ana, California in 1965.
Nina's daughter Marina Koshetz (also known as Marina Schubert) (1912–2001) was a soprano opera singer who appeared with the San Francisco Opera as well as the Metropolitan Opera, New York. She sang in films and wrote a biography of her mother and a screenplay about Nina's love affair with Rachmaninoff both titled The Last Love Song.
Relationship with Rachmaninoff
She had a working relationship with composer Sergei Rachmaninoff during the 1910s, and he composed a cycle of six romantic songs dedicated to her (opus 38). Rachmaninoff also played piano accompaniment for Nina Koshetz who preferred a Blüthner piano for its mellower, softer tone.
- The Nina Koshetz Edition - 1916-1941
Songs by Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Gretchaninov, Varlamov, Rachmaninoff, Anton Arensky, Martini, Ponce, Ravel, and Chopin etc.; arias from Sadko, The Demon, Dobrynia Nikititch, The Fair at Sorochyntsi, Pique Dame and Prince Igor. CD released 1993 (Opal/Pavilion Records, 9855)
- Nina Koshetz – Complete Victor and Schirmer recordings 1928/29 and 1940 (and Odarka Trifonieva Sprishevskaya – Victor recordings)
Songs and arias by Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Ravel, Ponce, Martini, Chopin, Gretchaninov, Rachmaninoff, Arensky, Tchaikovsky. (Nimbus Prima Voce CD NI 7935-36)
She appeared as 'Countess Vorontsov' opposite Ivan Mozzhukhin in the silent film Casanova (1927), and as 'Fatme' in Secrets of the Orient (1928). After her retirement from the operatic and concert stage, she appeared in bit parts in Algiers (1938), The Chase (1946), Captain Pirate (1952), and Hot Blood (1956).
- Scott, M (1979), The Record of Singing II pp 23–25
- Scott, M (2008), "Rachmaninoff" (The History Press. Gloucester, 2008.) pp 109–110 ISBN 978 0 7509 4376 5
- Short biography of Marina Koshetz by Hans J. Wollstein on AllMovie.com, accessed 3 December 2008 and Marina Koshetz obituary in the Los Angeles Times, accessed 3 December 2008
- Scott. "Rachmaninoff" (see further reading)
- Steane, J B (1992), 'Koshetz, Nina' in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
- Nina Koshetz at the Internet Movie Database
- Musicweb review of Koshetz recordings released by Nimbus Records
- Biographical page on Cantabile-Subito website