Adored by an entire world – the Swedish Nightingale’s path to international stardom.
Soprano Jenny Lind, known as the Swedish Nightingale, was the most celebrated and beloved singer of the nineteenth century. She was a superstar, adored by an entire world. The story of her life is a Cinderella tale, beginning with a vulnerable childhood and culminating in courage and unparalleled artistry.
Jenny Lind was born in 1820 in the impoverished neighbourhood of Klara in Stockholm, unwanted, out of wedlock, to an alcoholic father and an abusive mother. She was placed with a foster family and was discovered at the age of eight while sitting in a window and singing to her cat. A maid to Fredrika Lundberg, a ballerina with the Royal Swedish Opera, heard her in amazement.
Suddenly, her life took a new direction. Her debut as Agatha in Weber’s Der Freischütz at the Royal Swedish Opera was a tremendous success. Everyone was astonished by the total control the 17-year-old girl had over both her singing and her acting.
Not only was Jenny Lind a brilliant singer. With her candid, gracious personality, she charmed everyone she met and had numerous admirers among members of the contemporary cultural elite: author Hans Christian Andersen, composer Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and pianist Frédéric Chopin, to name a few.
When she made her London debut at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1847, the audience went wild, throwing hats and handkerchiefs into the air. Queen Victoria was in attendance, seated in the royal box. “Jenny Lind fever” broke out; people queued for days for opera tickets, and bought Jenny Lind dolls and tableware featuring her portrait. When she arrived by ship in New York a few years later, for an extensive American tour arranged by legendary entertainment entrepreneur P.T. Barnum, she was welcomed at the quay by 30,000 jubilant fans.
She stayed in the US and began to arrange her own tours. In Boston, she surprised everyone by marrying her pianist, Otto Goldschmidt, who was nine years her junior and a student of Mendelssohn. They returned to Europe, first to Germany and then to England, where Jenny Lind taught singing at the Royal College of Music in London.
Konserthuset Stockholm is celebrating the 200-year anniversary of the birth of Jenny Lind with a summer exhibition in the foyer.
The exhibition includes photos, drawings, texts and dresses, as well as clips from a new film about Jenny Lind.
Subtitles in English and Swedish is activated by using the CC control in the video player.
In the current situation, it is important that we help reduce the spread of covid-19. Konserthuset Stockholm follows the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden to give you a safe visit. We do this, among other things, by limiting the number of visitors, giving directions on distances, maintaining good hygiene in the premises and offering liquid hand sanitiser.
A safe summer in Konserthuset