Jenny Lind was born Oct. 6, 1820, in Stockholm, Sweden.
She played the piano at four, starred in her first important opera
at 17, and was enticed by P. T. Barnum to tour America in 1850.
With a keen aptitude for music, Jenny attended the Royal
Theater School to study piano, voice, acting, languages and dance.
Her soprano voice was unique, and she soon became the most popular
singer throughout Europe, later gaining a reputation as the greatest
artistic performer in the world.
Known throughout Europe as "The Swedish Nightingale,"
Jenny Lind arrived in New York Harbor on Sept. 1, 1850, aboard the
steamship Atlantic. She was greeted by nearly 40,000 people who
had been lured to the docks by Barnums press manipulation.
The opening concert was to take place in New York Citys
Castle Garden and Barnum auctioned off the first ticket, purchased
for $225 by John Genin, a local hatter. The remaining tickets, more
than 1,400, sold at an average price of $6.38.
Listed on the program for "The Swedish Nightingales"
first concert in the United States were works by Bellini and Rossini,
as well as "The Herdsmans Song," more generally
known as "The Echo Song," for which Jenny Lind was most
famous throughout Sweden and other European countries.
Audiences in Jenny Linds yearlong tour were comprised
of the rich and famous, including President Millard Fillmore, General
Winfield Scott, politician Henry Clay, and authors Daniel Webster,
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Washington Irving.
Throughout the tour to Boston, Richmond, Wilmington
and other cities, towns and hamlets, near-riots broke out as fans
crowded music halls, theaters and other performance sites, standing
in long lines to purchase tickets, while protesting the high cost.
Because of many differences over tour management and
arrangements, Barnum and Jenny Lind parted company in June 1851,
after the 93rd concert in their contract.
In less than a year, Barnum had grossed $535,000 and
Jenny $176,000, plus $10,000, her portion of the proceeds of her
first concert, which she donated to charity.
Continuing the tour with her troupe, Jenny performed
in Canada, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut,
including Hartford and New Haven.
When Julius Benedict, Jennys orchestra conductor,
accepted a position in London, she wrote to Otto Goldschmidt, a
gifted German pianist she had known in Europe, asking him to join
her group, which he did.
The couple, who had long admired each other, was married
Feb. 5, 1852 in Boston. They returned to Europe that year, sailing
on the ship that brought Jenny to America. She gave her last performance
in 1883. Jenny Lind died Nov. 2, 1887. She is buried in England.