Great Singers, Second Series eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about Great Singers, Second Series.

Jenny Lind’s tribulations, however, were not yet over.  She had overstrained an organ which had not gained its full strength, and it was discovered that her tones were losing their freshness.  The public began to lose its interest, and the opera was nearly deserted, for Jenny Lind had been the singer on whom main dependence was placed.  She felt a deep conviction that she had need of further teaching, and that of a quality and method not to be attained in her native city.  Manuel Garcia had formed more famous prima donnas than any other master, and it was Jenny Lind’s dream by night and day to go to this magician of the schools, whose genius and knowledge had been successfully imparted to so many great singers.  But to do this required no small amount of funds, and to raise a sufficient sum was a grave problem.  There were not in Stockholm a large number of wealthy and generous connoisseurs, such as have been found in richer capitals, eager to discover genius and lavish in supplying the means of its cultivation.  No! she must earn the wherewithal herself.  So, during the operatic recess, the plucky maiden started out under the guardianship of her father, and gave concerts in the principal towns of Sweden and Norway, through which she managed to amass a considerable sum.  She then bade farewell to her parents and started for Paris, her heart again all aflame with hope and confidence.


Manuel Garcia received Jenny Lind kindly, who was fluttered with anxiety.  The master’s verdict was not very encouraging.  When he had heard her sing, “My good girl,” he said, “you have no voice; or, I should rather say, you had a voice, but are now on the verge of losing it.  Your organ is strained and worn out, and the only advice I can offer you is to recommend you not to sing a note for three months.  At the end of that time come to me, and I’ll see what I can do for you.”  This was heart-breaking, but there was no appeal, and so, at the end of three wearisome months, Jenny Lind returned to Garcia.  He pronounced her voice greatly strengthened by its rest.  Under the Garcia method the young Swedish singer’s voice improved immensely, and, what is more, her conception and grasp of musical method.  The cadences and ornaments composed by Jenny were in many cases considered worthy by the master of being copied, and her progress in every way pleased Garcia, though he never fancied she would achieve any great musical distinction.  Another pupil of Garcia’s was a Mlle. Nissen, who, without much intellectuality, had a robust, full-toned voice.  Jenny Lind often said that it reduced her to despair at times to hear the master hold up this lady as an example, all the while she felt her own great superiority, the more lofty quality of her ambition.  Garcia would say:  “If Jenny Lind had the voice of Nissen, or the latter Lind’s brains, one of them would become the greatest singer in Europe.  If Lind had more voice at her disposal, nothing would prevent her from becoming the greatest of modern singers; but, as it is, she must be content with singing second to many who will not have half her genius.”  It is quite amusing to note how quickly this dogmatic prophecy of the great maestro disproved itself.

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