biography center image
Home Suggest a Biography Forum Contact
Browse by Alphabet Most Popular Highest Rated   back to  search
Browse by Letter : A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Jenny Lind ( 1820 - 1887 )  Category ( Singers ) [suggest a correction]

Jenny Lind was a nineteenth-century Swedish-born opera singer, often referred to as the "Swedish Nightingale." She became famous for her soprano performances in Sweden and Europe. She is best known for an extraordinarily popular tour of America beginning in 1850 and for her philanthropic work.

Lind was born Johanna Maria Lind, an illegitimate daughter of a schoolteacher named Anne Marie Felborg, who married Niklas Lind following Jenny's birth. Her mother ran a day school for girls. When Jenny was about nine years old, her singing was overheard by the maid of the principal dancer at the Royal Swedish Opera. The next day the maid returned with the dancer, who arranged an audition and helped Jenny get accepted at the Royal Theater School, where she studied music, drama, and dance. She began her stage singing career at age ten and by the age of seventeen she was a favorite in the Royal Swedish Opera. At age twenty she was court singer to the King of Sweden and Norway. She was received throughout Europe with acclaim, but suffered from stage fright throughout her career. Though she was no great beauty, Jenny had many male suitors, and finally married pianist Otto Goldschmidt in 1852, at age 31. She toured Denmark in 1843, where Hans Christian Andersen met and fell in love with her. They became good friends but she apparently had no romantic feelings for him. Three of his fairytales were inspired by her: "The Ugly Duckling," "The Angel," and "The Nightingale," the latter of which was the source for Lind's moniker, The Swedish Nightingale. Later, she made a concert tour of Germany, where she met Felix Mendelssohn. Jenny fell in love with the composer, but since he was married she did not pursue the relationship, though she remained a good friend of the composer and his family. Jenny traveled to London in 1847 to perform in the presence of Queen Victoria. Afterwards she toured Britain and Ireland.

Jenny Lind was well known for her philanthropic efforts, frequently giving free concerts and benefit concerts. By 1849, American showman P.T. Barnum became aware of Jenny's success and the large audiences she attracted. While he was touring Europe he hired an Englishman to find Jenny and make her an offer to tour America. At that time Jenny wanted to fund new schools in Sweden, and Barnum's offer would allow her to earn a great deal of money. She accepted his offer of $1,000 a night (plus expenses) for up to 150 concerts in the United States. Few Americans had ever heard of Jenny Lind, though Barnum's first press release for the tour certainly set the tone: "A visit from such a woman who regards her artistic powers as a gift from Heaven and who helps the afflicted and distressed will be a blessing to America." Barnum heavily promoted her record of philanthropic work, and before she ever left England, Barnum had made her a household name in America. When she arrived in New York on September 1, 1850, more than 40,000 people were there to greet her.

There are many anecdotal stories related to Jenny's American tour, including touching examples of her charity and the enthusiasm with which the American public received her. During her debut in Washington, D.C. the entire police force was called out to keep order. Congress was adjourned, and the Supreme Court justices were among the concert attendees.

While in the United States, Jenny married pianist Otto Goldschmidt. The couple returned to Europe in May 1852 and later had three children. Though she ceased her professional singing career upon her return, Jenny continued to perform in a number of concerts and choruses. She lived for a time in Dresden, Germany, and then in England for the remainder of her life, where she became a philanthropist, and for some years, a professor of singing at the Royal College of Music. Jenny Lind died in 1887 from cancer. She bequeathed a considerable part of her wealth to help poor Protestant students in Sweden receive an education.

starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar    Rating  10
Rating [Comment on this link]
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar    Rating  10
Rating [Comment on this link]
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar    Rating  10
Rating [Comment on this link]
[Suggest another Link for this biography]
Browse by categories
Biographies beginning with
Biographes by Category
Most popular biographies
Most rated biographies
View all categories
Browse by categories
arrow Suggest an addtional category for Lind Jenny
arrow Suggest a Biography
arrow Add details to this biogaphy
© Copyright 1998-2024 Biography Center