Jenny Lind

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Jenny Lind is the name of an iconic 19th century Swedish opera singer, as well as the name given to some of the many academic, literary, theatrical and cinematic works about her.

Jenny Lind the personality

Johanna Maria "Jenny" Lind (1820–1887)[1] was a Swedish opera singer, often called 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 the United States beginning in 1850 under the auspices of at the invitation of the showman P.T. Barnum[].

In 1855 she and her husband settled in England, becoming for a while in the 1880s a professor of singing at the Royal College of Music in London. She died in England on 2 November 1887, aged 65.

Plays about Jenny Lind

In 1847 Lind paid her first visit to London, and the excitement was apparently enormous. In an article about the creation of the mythical icon "Jenny Lind", George Biddicombe mentions that, besides a huge amount of publicity and critical commentary in anticipation, two burlesque performances were put on in various theatres in her honour days before her arrival in April.

Jenny Lind at Last, or The Swedish Nightingale, "An Apropos Operatic Bagatelle" in one act by Angus Bethune Reach (1821–1856)[2] at the Lyceum Theatre on 14 April and Jenny Lind, or The North Star a burlesque by a "H.R. Addington" at the Adelphi Theatre on 17 April.

Later a third burlesque, More Ethiopians, or Jenny Lind in New York by A.L.V Campbell ()[3] opened at the Grecian Theatre on 13 May.

South African performances of plays about Lind

1876: A piece called Jenny Lind was performed by the Disney Roebuck company, under the management of Charles Wilstone in the Athenaeum Hall, Cape Town, on 20 Ocotber, with Oliver Twist (in an unidentified adaptation), as benefit for Mr W. Foulis and Mrs Foulis. (This was probably one of the burlesques mentioned above, most likely Reach's version.)


"Online Books by Angus B. Reach", The Online Books Page [4]

Facsimile version of the Samuel French edition of Reach's text, The Hathi Trust Digital Library[5]

George Biddlecombe. 2003 (reprinted 2019). "The Construction of an Icon. The Case of Jenny Lind" in Nineteenth-Century British Music Studies: Volume 3 (edited by Peter Horton and Bennett Zon): Routledge.[6]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.343

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