Lind, Jenny

BORN 6 Oct 1820, Stockholm: Klara - DIED 2 Nov 1887, Malvern, Worcestershire: Wynds Point
BIRTH NAME Lind, Johanna Maria
GRAVE LOCATION Great Malvern, Worcestershire: Cemetery, Madresfield Road (plot 3, grave number 1264)

The soprano Jenny Lind was the illegitimate child of bookkeeper Niclas Jonas Lind and schoolteacher Anne-Marie Fellborg. Her mother had divorced her first husband but only married her father when her former husband died. Jenny was fourteen at the time. When Jenny was nine she was overheard singing by the maid of a mademoiselle Lundberg, who was an important dancer at the Royal Swedish Opera. Lundberg helped her to enter the acting school of the Royal Dramatic Theatre.

She debuted at the opera in Stockholm in 1838 as Agathe in "Der Freischütz" by Weber. Success came quickly and she became court singer to the king. But her voice was damaged because she used it too much and was inadequately trained. It was saved by Manuel Garcia, with whom she studied in Paris from 1841 to 1843. After she was rejected at the Opera of Paris she returned to Stockholm.

She toured in Denmark in 1843 and there she met Hans Christian Andersen. He fell in love with her, but she wanted to be no more than good friends. In 1844 she made a successful tour in Germany and in from 1847 to 1849 she toured in England. She had become a close friend of Felix Mendelssohn and was shocked by his early death in 1847. In 1848 she spent a lot of time with Chopin when he was in London and there were rumours of an affair.

In 1850 she sailed to the USA where she toured extensively. She gave 93 concerts under the management of P.T. Barnum and continued to tour on her own. Otto Goldsmith replaced Julius Benedict as her pianist in 1851 and they married in Boston on 5 Feb 1852. In May 1852 they returned to Europe. First they lived in Dresden where their son Otto was born. In 1855 they moved to London where they lived at several addresses before they settled near Wimbledon Park in 1864. In England their daughter Jenny was born in 1856 and their son Ernest in 1861. Around 1874 they moved to a large house in South Kensington.

After they settled in England Jenny didn't sing in opera's anymore and restricted herself to concert halls. In 1882 she was appointed professor at the new Royal College of Music where she taught until 1886. In 1883 they moved their home to Wynds Point in Malvern. She died there in 1887 of cancer. Her husband lived until 1907 and was buried beside her in Great Malvern.

Her nickname was 'The Swedish Nightingale' and according to some she was the best singer the world had ever heard. No recordings of her voice exist.

• Husband: Goldschmidt, Otto (1852-1887)

Related persons
• performed with Alboni, Marietta
• cooperated with Benedict, Julius
• was a friend of Chopin, Frédéric
• was sculpted by Durham, Joseph
• was written about by Goldschmidt, Otto
• cooperated with Lablache, Frederick
• was painted by Magnus, Eduard
• was a friend of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix
• knew Napoleon III Bonaparte
• knew Viardot-Garcia, Pauline
• has a connection with Wichmann, Herman

21/10/1844First meeting between Felix Mendelssohn and Jenny Lind. She was 24 at the time. It was suggested that they started an affair and that their secret love in combination with the death of his sister Fanny speedened his own death. [Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix]
15/12/1844Jenny Lind sings the part of Norma in Berlin 
12/8/1845Beethoven statue in Bonn unveiled. It was created by Ernst Hähnel and unveiled in honour of the 75th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. Franz Liszt was actively involved in the project and donated over 10,000 francs. Schlegel had been the head of the organising committee but he died in May, 1845. Professor Heinrich Breidenstein, who had first expressed the idea, took over his position. The ceremony was attended by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Hector Berlioz, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Ignaz Moscheles, Charles Hallé, Jenny Lind, Pauline Viardot, Lola Montez, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn and Maria Kalergis. [Berlioz, Hector][Hallé, Charles][Liszt, Franz][Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix][Meyerbeer, Giacomo][Montez, Lola][Schumann, Robert][Viardot-Garcia, Pauline]
0/12/1845Richard Wagner sees Jenny Lind in Berlin in "Don Giovanni" and in "Norma". [Wagner, Richard]
4/12/1845Jenny Lind sings at a Gewandhaus concert in Leipzig. It was organised by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. [Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix]
4/5/1847Jenny Lind is Alice in Meyerbeer's "Robert Il Diavolo" at Her Majesty's Opera House in London. It was her debut in England. The queen was there and so was Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. [Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix]
27/5/1847Jenny Lind is Marie in Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment" at Her Majesty's theatre in London 
22/7/1847Premiere of Verdi's opera "I masnadieri" at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. The libretto was written by Andrea Maffei and it was based on Schiller's play "Die Räuber". Verdi conducted the first two performances himself. Jenny Lind sang the part of Amalia and Luigi Lablache was Massamiliano. Other singers were Filippo Coletti and Italo Gardini. [Verdi, Giuseppe]
0/6/1849Jenny Lind visits Frédéric Chopin. He lived at an apartment in Chaillot and he would die in October of that year. [Chopin, Frédéric]
1/9/1850Jenny Lind arrives in New York. Her ship The Atlantic docked on this day. Her upcoming concerts had been heavily promoted by P.T. Barnum, who organised her tour. 
11/9/1850Jenny Lind makes her American Debut in New York City. At the Castle Garden Theatre in New York City (now known as the Castle Clinton). It was the first of two charity concerts. The second concert took place on 13 September. 
29/5/1852Jenny Lind leaves New York for England. Her husband Otto Goldschmidt was with her. [Goldschmidt, Otto]
20/10/1870Last public performance by Jenny Lind at Düsseldorf. She sang in "Ruth", an oratorio by her husband, the pianist Otto Goldschmidt. 
23/7/1883Jenny Lind sings at a charity concert at the Royal Malvern Spa Hall. She had retired from singing in 1870. This occasion was a concert to the benefit of the Railway Servants' Widows and Orphans' fund. A large audience turned up and she was accompanied on serveral songs by her husband Otto. [Goldschmidt, Otto]


The grave of Jenny Lind at the cemetery in Great Malvern.
Picture by Androom (15 Aug 2011)


Jenny Lind in Donizetti's opera La Fille du Regiment | unknown | V&A Explore The Collections
Jenny Lind - Wikipedia
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Linda, Bertha

Published: 18 Sep 2011
Last update: 08 Mar 2022