Great Singers, Second Series eBook

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

The prima donna of the Berlin opera was Mlle. Nissen, who had been with herself under Garcia’s instruction, and it was a little humiliating that she should be obliged to sing second to one whom she knew to be her inferior.  But she could be patient, and bide her time.  In the mean while the sapient critics regarded her with good-natured indifference, and threw her a few crumbs of praise from time to time to appease her hunger.  At last she had her revenge.  One night at a charity concert, the fourth act of “Robert le Diable” was given, and the solo of Alice assigned to Jenny Lind.  She had barely sung the first few bars when the audience were electrified.  The passion, fervor, novelty of treatment, and glorious breadth of voice and style completely enthralled them.  They broke into a tempest of applause, and that was the beginning of the “Lind madness,” which, commencing in Berlin, ran through Europe with such infectious enthusiasm.  During the remaining three months of the Berlin season, she was the musical idol of the Berlinese, and poor Mlle. Nissen found herself hurled irretrievably from her throne.  It was about this time, near the close of 1843, that Mlle. Lind received her first offer of an English engagement from Mr. Lumley, who had sent an agent to Berlin to hear her sing, and make a report to him on this new prodigy.  No contract, however, was then entered into, Jenny Lind going to Dresden instead, where her friend Meyerbeer was engaged in composing his “Feldlager in Schliesen,” the first part of which, Vielka, was offered to her and accepted.  She acquired the German language sufficiently well in two months to sing in it, but it is rather a strange fact that, though Mlle. Lind during her life learned not less than five languages besides her own, she never spoke any of them with precision and purity, not even Italian.


After an operatic campaign in Dresden, in the highest degree pleasant to herself and satisfactory to the public, in which she sang, in addition to Vielka, the parts of Norma, Amina, and Maria in “La Figlia del Reggimento,” Jenny Lind returned to Stockholm to take part in the coronation of the King of Sweden.  Her fame spread throughout the musical world with signal swiftness, and offers came pouring in on her from London, Paris, Florence, Milan, and Naples.  This northern songstress was becoming a world’s wonder, not because people had heard, but because the few carried far and wide such wonderful reports of her genius.  Her tour in the summer of 1844 through the cities of Scandinavia and Germany was almost like the progress of a royal personage, to which events had attached some special splendor.  Costly gifts were lavished on her, her journeys through the streets were besieged by thousands of admiring followers, her society was sought by the most distinguished people in the land.  The Countess

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