Great Singers, Second Series eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 170 pages of information about Great Singers, Second Series.
Comedy, and Music.  Her tour through the provinces repeated the sensation and excitement of London.  Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, and Dundee vied with the great capital in the most extravagant excesses of admiration, and fifteen guineas were not infrequently paid for the privilege of hearing her.  For two concerts in Edinburgh Mlle. Lind received one thousand pounds for her services, and the management made twelve hundred pounds.  Such figures are referred to simply as affording the most tangible estimate of the extent and violence of the Lind fever.

V.

Yet with all this flattery and admiration, which would have fed the conceit of a weaker woman to madness, Jenny Lind remained the same quiet, simple-hearted, almost diffident woman as of yore.  The great pianist and composer Moscheles writes:  “What shall I say of Jenny Lind?  I can find no words adequate to give you any idea of the impression she has made....  This is no short-lived fit of public enthusiasm.  I wanted to know her off the stage as well as on; but, as she lives at some distance from me, I asked her in a letter to fix upon an hour for me to call.  Simple and unceremonious as she is, she came the next day herself, bringing the answer verbally.  So much modesty and so much greatness united are seldom if ever to be met with; and, although her intimate friend Mendelssohn had given me an insight into the noble qualities of her character, I was surprised to find them so apparent.”

From a variety of accounts we are justified in concluding that never had there been such a musical enthusiasm in London.  Since the days when the world fought for hours at the pit-door to see the seventh farewell of Siddons, nothing had been seen in the least approaching the scenes at the entrance of the theatre on the “Lind” nights.  Of her various impersonations during the season of 1847, her Amina in “Sonnambula” made the deepest impression on the town, as it was marked by several original features, both in the acting and singing, which were remarkably effective.  Her performance of Norma was afterward held by judicious critics to be far inferior to that of Grisi in its dramatic aspect; but, when the mania was at its height, those who dared to impeach the ideal perfection of everything done by the idol of the hour were consigned to perdition as idiotic slanderers.  Chorley wrote with satirical bitterness, though himself a warm admirer of the “Swedish Nightingale”:  “It was a curious experience to sit and to wait for what should come next, and to wonder whether it really was the case that music never had been heard till the year 1847.”

Mlle. Lind passed the winter at Stockholm, and it is needless to speak of the pride and delight of her townspeople in the singer who had created such an unprecedented sensation in the musical world.  All the places at the theatre when she sang fetched immense premiums, especially as it was known that the professional gains of Jenny Lind during this engagement were to be devoted to the endowment of an asylum for the support of decayed artists, and a school for young girls studying music.  When she left Stockholm again for London, the scene was even more brilliant and impressive than that which had marked her previous departure for England.

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