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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 Barnum’s press manipulation.

The opening concert was to take place in New York City’s 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 Nightingale’s" first concert in the United States were works by Bellini and Rossini, as well as "The Herdsman’s Song," more generally known as "The Echo Song," for which Jenny Lind was most famous throughout Sweden and other European countries.

Audiences in Jenny Lind’s 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, Jenny’s 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.

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