Dimitri Alexeyevich Smirnoff (Smirnov) (Russian: Дмитрий Алексеевич Смирнов, 1882 - 1944)
Muscovite, Smirnoff was a pupil of Emiliya Pavlovskaya and Alexander Dodonov. He made his debut in St. Petersburg in 1903 as Gigi in La Camorra Eugenio Domenico Esposito. The venue was the Hermitage Theater. In 1904, Smirnoff became a member of the Bolshoi company in Moscow, singing there until 1910. Then he sang at the Mariinsky Theater, St. Petersburg, 1911-1917.
Smirnoff made his French debut at the Paris Opera in 1907. His successful Parisian performance led to an invitation for him to appear at the Metropolitan Opera, where he sang in 1911-12. Competition from international famous tenors Enrico Caruso and John McCormack, who also sang at the Met at the time, brought Smirnoff achieve limited success with the public in New York. In 1914, he performed in "Russian Seasons" at the Theater Royal, Drury Lane in London. Do not sing more in the US, except for two performances of The Queen of Spades by Tchaikovsky with the Washington National Opera - a semi-professional company not linked to its present name - in 1926.
The tenor left his homeland after the Russian Revolution of 1917, preferring to continue his career in the West. Among the cities that we visited were Berlin, Monte Carlo, Milan, Rome, Madrid and Buenos Aires. In 1929 he returned to the Soviet Union for a concert tour. Smirnoff became a citizen of Estonia on February 4, 1932, and took an active part as a soloist in the opera house "Estonia". He taught singing in London and Athens and later retired to Riga, where he died in 1944, to 61 years.
Smirnoff was equally at home performing operatic roles in the work Russian, French or Italian. His voice had a whining tone with easy high notes, a great breath control and a characteristic vibrato. The main rivals tenor of Smirnoff in Moscow and St. Petersburg before the 1917 Revolution had been Sobinov Leonid (1871-1934) and Ivan Yershov (1867-1943). Yershov taken heroic parts as Siegfried and Othello Smirnov never tried, but the repertoire of Sobinov was similar to that of Smirnoff.
Postcard autographed by the famous tenor