Lind, Johanna Maria
Johanna Maria Lind (6 October 1820 – 2 November 1887), better known as Jenny Lind, was a Swedish opera singer, often known as the "Swedish Nightingale". One of the most highly regarded singers of the 19th century, she performed in soprano roles in opera in Sweden and across Europe, and undertook an extraordinarily popular concert tour of America beginning in 1850.
Autograph Slip Signed, n.d. - 3 1/2 x 1 1/16 signed in blk ink on fine blue old English 'wove' parchment mounted; with a 'Program' Guide for Friday, 05/16/185 performance 'Grand Concert' pp 17, Baker, Godwin & Co., Printers, Tribune Building, opposite the Park, N.Y. Some very rich browning with lovly age-toning seen throughout overall, fine condition.
Lind became famous after her performance in Der Freischütz in Sweden in 1838. Within a few years, she had suffered vocal damage, but the singing teacher Manuel García saved her voice.
She was in great demand in opera roles throughout Sweden and northern Europe during the 1840s, becoming the protégée of Felix Mendelssohn. After two acclaimed seasons in London, she announced her retirement from opera at the age of 29. In 1850,
Lind went to America at the invitation of the showman P. T. Barnum. She gave 93 large-scale concerts for him and then continued to tour under her own management. She earned more than $350,000 from these concerts, donating the proceeds to charities, principally the endowment of free schools in Sweden.
With her new husband, Otto Goldschmidt, she returned to Europe in 1852 where she had three children and gave occasional concerts over the next two decades, settling in England in 1855. From 1882, for some years, she was a professor of singing at the Royal College of Music in London. Among her admirers were Robert Schumann, Hector Berlioz and, most importantly for her, Felix Mendelssohn.
He wrote, "Jenny Lind has fairly enchanted me; she is unique in her way, and her song with two concertante flutes is perhaps the most incredible feat in the way of bravura singing that can possibly be heard". This number, from Meyerbeer's Ein Feldlager in Schlesien (1844; a role written for Lind but not premiered by her), became one of the songs most associated with Lind, and she was called on to sing it wherever she performed in concert.
Her operatic repertoire comprised the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor, Maria di Rohan, Norma, La sonnambula and La vestale, as well as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Adina in L'elisir d'amore and Alice in Robert le diable. About this time she became known as "the Swedish Nightingale".
In December 1845, the day after her debut at the Leipzig Gewandhaus under the baton of Mendelssohn, she sang without fee for a charity concert in aid of the Orchestra Widows' Fund. Her devotion and generosity to charitable causes remained a key aspect of her career and greatly enhanced her international popularity even among the unmusical.
At the Royal Swedish Opera, Lind had been friends with the tenor Julius Günther. They sang together both in opera and on the concert stage, becoming romantically linked by 1844. Their schedules separated them, however, as Günther remained in Stockholm and then became a student of Garcia's in Paris in 1846–1847.
Reunited after this in Sweden, according to Lind's 1891 Memoir, they became engaged to marry in the spring of 1848 just before Lind returned to England. However, the two broke off the engagement in October of the same year. The existence of the engagement, however, has been disputed.
In 1848, Lind and Frédéric Chopin spent much time together while he was on a prolonged visit to London. As with her relationship with Mendelssohn, there has been some conjecture about a love affair. While there is no conclusive evidence of that, there is no doubt that Chopin admired her greatly, and that his admiration was reciprocated.
Under the name "Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt", she is commemorated in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, London. Among those present at the memorial's unveiling ceremony on 20 April 1894 were Goldschmidt, members of the Royal Family, Sullivan, Sir George Grove and representatives of some of the charities supported by Lind.
There is also a plaque commemorating Lind in The Boltons, Kensington, London and a Blue Plaque at 189 Old Brompton Road, London, SW7, which was erected in 1909. I
n the U.S., Lind is commemorated by street names in Fort Smith, Arkansas; New Bedford, Massachusetts; McKeesport, Pennsylvania; North Easton, Massachusetts; and Stanhope, New Jersey; and in the name of the gold-rush town of Jenny Lind, California. She has been honoured since 1948 by the Barnum Festival, which takes place each June and July in Bridgeport, Connecticut.