Great Singers, Second Series eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about Great Singers, Second Series.
and performance such as to have evoked the strongest admiration of such musical authorities as Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn, and Moscheles for their creative science.  Her pianissimo tones were so fined down that they had almost the effect of ventriloquism, so exquisitely were they attenuated; and yet they never lost their peculiarly musical quality.  As an actress Jenny Lind had no very startling power, and but little versatility, as her very limited opera repertory proved; but into what she did she infused a grace, sympathy, and tenderness, which, combined with the greatness of her singing and some indescribable quality in the voice itself, produced an effect on audiences with but few parallels in the annals of the opera.  It is a little strange that Jenny Lind would never sing in Paris, but obstinately refused the most tempting offers.  Perhaps she never forgot the circumstances of her first experience with a Parisian impressario.

It was at Lubeck, Germany, where she was singing in concert in 1849, that she concluded a treaty with Mr. Barnum for a series of one hundred and fifty concerts in America under his auspices.  The terms were one thousand dollars per night for each of the performances, and the expenses of the whole troupe, which consisted of Sig.  Belletti and Julius Benedict (since Sir Julius Benedict).  The period intervening before her American tour was occupied in concert-giving on the continent and in England.  The proceeds of these entertainments were given to charity, and the demonstrations of the public everywhere proved how firmly fixed in the heart of the music-loving public the great Swedish singer remained.  Her last appearance before crossing the ocean was at Liverpool, before an audience of more than three thousand people, when the English people gave their idol a most affecting display of their admiration.


Mr. Barnum, no mean adept himself in the science of advertising, took a lesson from the ingenious trickery of Mr. Lumley in whetting the appetite of the American public for the coming of the Swedish diva.  He took good care that the newspapers should be flooded with the most exaggerated and sensational anecdotes of her life and career, and day after day the people were kept on the alert by columns of fulsome praise and exciting gossip.  On her arrival in New York, in September, 1850, both the wharf and adjacent streets were packed with people eager to catch a glimpse of the great singer.  Her hotel, the Irving House, was surrounded at midnight by not less than thirty thousand people, and she was serenaded by a band of one hundred and thirty musicians, who had marched up, led by several hundreds of red-shirted firemen.  The American furore instantly took on the proportions of that which had crazed the English public.  The newspapers published the names of those who had bought tickets, and printed a fac-simile of the card which admitted the owner to the concert building. 

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Great Singers, Second Series from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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