Lind, Jenny


In the words of Meyerbeer, "One of the finest pearls in the world's chaplet of song." She was born in Stockholm, where her father was a lawyer in very moderate circumstances. Herr Croelius, a singingmaster and Court Secretary, gave her lessons and urged Count Pucke, director of the Court Theatre, to hear her sing. She was admitted to the Conservatory when only nine years old. Here she studied under Erasmus Berg, a skilled musician. She appeared in public after a few years' study and immediately became a favorite. When about fourteen a great trial came to her in the loss of her voice. She continued her studies, however, and in four or five years it returned as suddenly as it had left her. Though at first not as strong or as sweet as formerly, her voice gradually improved, and when she again sang in public she was received with enthusiasm. Her success encouraged her and she went to Paris to study under Signer Garcia, the father of the famous Malibran, and teacher of many excellent singers. She studied under him for about a year and then returned to Stockholm. She had become a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1840 and was appointed Court-singer. She was welcomed back and soon regained her place as favorite.

During her residence in Paris she met Meyerbeer, who became very much interested in her and now wished her to come to Berlin. He had written for her the principal role in his Feldlager in Schlesien, which he afterwards remodeled as L'fitoile du Nord. In the early part of 1844 she spent some time in Dresden studying German, and in October she went to Berlin. Her first appearance was as Norma, in which part she electrified her audiences, her reputation soon spreading throughout Germany. She also appeared as Euryanthe, and in La Sonnambula, and as Alice in Roberto. She sang before the Queen of England, who was visiting His Prussian Majesty at Bonn, and in a number of other German cities, finally appearing at the Gewandhaus, Leipsic, in 1845. The next year she sang in Vienna, where her popularity was remarkable. On the last evening of her engagement her carriage was  escorted home by thousands, and she was obliged to appear thirty times at her window to acknowledge the applause of the crowd. She sang at Aix-la-Chapelle, Hanover and Hamburg in the summer and filled enagements at Darmstadt, Munich, tuttgart and various cities in southern Germany.

About this time she made a trip to England for the cause of the Italian Opera, which was threatened with bankruptcy. She was received with the greatest enthusiasm by all classes of London society. The Queen admired her grace and modesty and would have showered distinctions on her in every way, but she would accept only a bracelet, which she always treasured. Her rendering of Alice, in Sonnambula, and Maria, in Donizetti's charming comic opera was so remarkable that the English could talk of nothing else. Among other parts she sang Lucia, Adina in L'Elisir, and La Figlia del Reggimento. Possibly her best part was Giulia in Spontini's Vestale. She also created the part of Amalia in Verdi's Imasnadieri, and sang that of Susanna in Figaro.

Her operatic career in London was as short as it was brilliant. She had a prejudice against the falseness of the stage and a longing for something higher in life than the applause of excited multitudes. She could not reconcile the glitter and publicity of the stage with her love of nature and simplicity. She resolved to leave the stage, and her last appearance took place in Roberto in 1849. Thereafter she sang on the more congenial platform of the concert-room. She gave many concerts during this last season in London, singing very successfully in Handel's oratorios. These, some of Mozart's great airs, her masterful execution of the Bird song in Haydn's Creation, the inspiration she put into the Sanctus of angels in Mendelssohn's Elijah, and her wild, queer northern tunes can be remembered by many of her admirers, who are living today. In 1850 she undertook a tour of the United States under the management of P. T. Barnum. She sang in nearly a hundred concerts, and wherever she went created unparalleled enthusiasm. The Americans appreciated her and welcomed her everywhere. Her tour lasted nearly two years. During the latter part of it she was accompanied by Mr. Otto Goldschmidt, a capable pianist of Hamburg, whom she married in Boston in February, 1852. It was a marriage of love and always remained a happy one. The result of the American tour financially was a fortune for the managers and twenty thousand pounds for the singer. Returning to Europe, Mme. Goldschmidt traveled through Holland and Germany, making her home in Dresden from 1852 to 1855. The next year her husband became leader of the Bach choir in London and she sang frequently in oratorios and concerts. Her actual last appearance was at a concert for charity at Malvern in 1883. At that time she accepted a position as teacher of singing at the Royal College of Music, which she held until 1886. She died the following year at Wynd's Point, Malvern, universally lamented.

Her life was beautiful and true, and she was admired and respected by all who knew her. Her charities were boundless, all of her American earnings being devoted to founding and  endowing art scholarships and other charities in her native Sweden. She gave a whole hospital to Liverpool and the wing of another to London. During the winter of 1848-1849 she raised ten thousand five hundred pounds for charity. Her generosity and sympathy were never appealed to in vain where the cause was just. Her voice was a soprano of great compass and power, remarkable in its sweetness and perfect purity of tone. Her execution was almost unsurpassed. Her memory was wonderful. She could play and sing, without notes, Gluck's Armida, the oratorios of Handel and Haydn, melodies of Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann, and many others. Wherever she appeared, whether in the smallest cities or in Her Majesty's Theatre, she made the same effort, and put the same life and expression into her singing. She never concerned herself about criticisms, whether friendly or otherwise, but thought only of her art.