Nina Dimitrieff

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Nina Dimitrieff, from a 1913 festival program.
Nina Dimitrieff, from a 1916 publication.

Nina Dimitrieff (born 1870s – died after 1952), also seen as Nina Dmitrieff and later as Nina Massell, was a Russian soprano singer.

Early life[edit]

Nina Dimitrieff was described in publicity as "daughter of the famous Russian general Pheophan Dimitrieff", and educated at Smolny Convent in Saint Petersburg, where she was a schoolmate of Elena of Montenegro.[1][2]


Dimitrieff made her American debut[3] as Margarita in The Damnation of Faust at the 1910 Worcester Music Festival.[4] In that same year, the New York Times opined that "Her voice is not notable for fine quality, being, in fact, somewhat hard and unyielding; nor is she equally successful in many different styles of songs."[5]

In 1911, she sang in California with other Russian musicians,[6] and sang at concert conducted by Leopold Stokowski,[2] and sang at a fundraiser for tuberculosis prevention in Pittsburgh.[7] In 1913 Dimitrieff sang at "Verdi Night" at the May Festival of the Albany Musical Association,[8] and gave a joint recital with Russian cellist Vladimir Dubinsky at New York's Aeolian Hall.[9]

She returned to Aeolian Hall with a recital of Russian traditional songs in 1916, at which she also wore Russian costumes and gave a lecture on the history of Russian church music and folksongs.[10][11] Also in 1916, she and other Russian artists including Mischa Levitzki, Anna Pavlova, and a balalaika orchestra performed at a benefit in Connecticut, for Russian prisoners of war.[12]

Dimitrieff made several recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1916.[13] Later in life, she taught voice classes, and accompanied other concert performers on piano.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Nina Dimitrieff married James Massell, a voice teacher and writer, by the end of 1919.[15] She was widowed when he died in 1948.[16] She was still alive to renew the copyright on her husband's book, To Sing or Not to Sing, in 1953.


  1. ^ "Fassifern Concert Course" Lincoln County News (February 18, 1913): 1. via Newspapers.comopen access
  2. ^ a b "Music News of the Week" Pittsburgh Press (November 19, 1911): 16. via Newspapers.comopen access
  3. ^ "Nina Dimitrieff Will Make Debut" Janesville Daily Gazette (September 26, 1910): 1. via Newspapers.comopen access
  4. ^ Lester S. Butler, "The Worcester, Mass., Music Festival" Music News (October 28, 1921): 1.
  5. ^ "Mme. Dimitrieff's Recital" New York Times (December 21, 1910): 11. via ProQuest
  6. ^ "Symphony Artists to Appear at the Clunie Monday Evening" Sacramento Union (May 7, 1911): 2. via California Digital Newspaper Collectionopen access
  7. ^ "Famous Singer to Help Fight the White Plague" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (November 26, 1911): 3. via Newspapers.comopen access
  8. ^ Program, May Festival (1913), Albany Musical Association: 6.
  9. ^ "Nina Dimitrieff and Vladimir Dubinsky" The Opera News (November 29, 1913): 5.
  10. ^ "Songs with Curious History in Russian Singer's Program" and "Presents Russian Songs in Costume" Musical America (November 18, 1916): 23.
  11. ^ "Nina Dimitrieff Sings" New York Times (November 12, 1916): 19.
  12. ^ "Russian Artists in New Haven Benefit" Musical America (December 30, 1916): 31.
  13. ^ Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Nina Dimitrieff (vocalist : soprano vocal)" (accessed May 6, 2018).
  14. ^ "Flora Negri Pleases" New York Times (December 20, 1926): 28. via ProQuest
  15. ^ "Edith Kingman Gives First of Series of Sunday Musicales" Musical America (November 29, 1919): 15.
  16. ^ "Deaths" New York Times (December 2, 1948): 29. via ProQuest

External links[edit]