Great Singers, Second Series eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 170 pages of information about Great Singers, Second Series.

The Childhood of the “Swedish Nightingale.”—­Her First Musical Instruction.—­The Loss and Return of her Voice.—­Jenny Lind’s Pupilage in Paris under Manuel Garcia.—­She makes the Acquaintance of Meyerbeer.—­Great Success in Stockholm in “Robert le Diable.”—­Fredrika Bremer and Hans Christian Andersen on the Young Singer.—­Her Debut in Berlin.—­Becomes Prima Donna at the Royal Theatre.—­Beginning of the Lind Enthusiasm that overran Europe.—­She appears in Dresden in Meyerbeer’s New Opera, “Feldlager in Schliesen.”—­Offers throng in from all the Leading Theatres of Europe.—­The Grand Furore in Every Part of Germany.—­Description of Scenes in her Musical Progresses.—­She makes her Debut in London.—­Extraordinary Excitement of the English Public, such as had never before been known.—­Descriptions of her Singing by Contemporary Critics.—­Her Quality as an Actress.—­Jenny Lind’s Personnel.—­Scenes and Incidents of the “Lind” Mania.—­Her Second London Season.—­Her Place and Character as a Lyric Artist.—­Mlle. Lind’s American Tour.—­Extraordinary Enthusiasm in America.—­Her Lavish Generosity.—­She marries Herr Otto Goldschmidt.—­Present Life of Retirement in London.—­Jenny Lind as a Public Benefactor.

I.

The name of Jenny Lind shines among the very brightest in the Golden Book of Singers, and her career has been one of the most interesting among the many striking personal chapters in the history of lyric music.  It was not that the “Swedish Nightingale” was supremely great in any chief quality of the lyric artist.  Others have surpassed her in natural gifts of voice, in dramatic fervor, in versatility, in perfect vocal finish.  But to Jenny Lind were granted all these factors of power in sufficiently large measure, and that power of balance and coordination by which such powers are made to yield their highest results.  An exquisitely serene and cheerful temperament, a high ambition, great energy and industry, and such a sense of loyalty to her engagements that she always gave her audience the very best there was in her—­these were some of the moral phases of the art-nature which in her case proved of immense service in achieving her great place as a singer, and in holding that place secure against competition for so many years.

The parents of Jenny Lind were poor, struggling folk in the city of Stockholm, who lived precariously by school-teaching.  Jenny, born October 6, 1821, was a sickly child, whose only delight in her long, lonely hours was singing, the faculty for which was so strong that at the age of three years she could repeat with unfailing accuracy any song she once heard.  Jenny shot up into an awkward, plain-featured girl, with but little prospect of lifting herself above her humble station, till she happened, when she was about nine years old, to attract the attention of Frau Lundburg, a well-known actress, who was delighted with the silvery sweetness of her tones.  It was

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