Johanna Maria Lind, better known as Jenny Lind, was a Swedish soprano who lived in the 1800's.  Although she was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, the year she was born is debated. She was the sweetest soprano singer of the nineteenth century and was often called “The Swedish Nightingale” because of her amazing voice.  From the beginning of Jenny’s career to her American tour that started in 1850, she greatly influenced many people by her singing.

When Jenny Lind began her career, she frequently sang for large audiences.  Jenny was noted for her remarkable golden voice at a very young age. When she was nine, her singing was overheard by the maid of the principle dancer at the Royal Swedish Opera.  Astonished by Jenny’s amazing voice, the maid returned with the dancer, who aided Jenny in being accepted at the Royal Theater School, where she studied with Karl Magnus Craelius, the singing master.  She began to sing on stage at the age of ten, and by the time she was seventeen, Jenny was a favorite of the Royal Swedish Opera. She made her first debut in 1838 as Agathe in “Der Freischutz.” When she turned twenty, she became a member of the Swedish Royal Academy and a court singer for the King of both Sweden and Norway.  She had a very popular role in “Robert le Diable” in 1847, and the town “went wild” for the Swedish Nightingale.  She was grandly received and welcomed all through Europe, although she suffered from stage fright.  Jenny’s singing career attracted many huge crowds.

Jenny Lind made many public performances during her American tour.  In 1849, P.T. Barnum hired an Englishman named John Wilton to locate Lind and make her an offer. Jenny Lind accepted Barnum’s offer of one thousand dollars a night for up to 150 concerts which were to be held all over the United States. Barnum paid a total of $187,500 to take Lind and her musical troupe to America.  Before she left England, P.T. Barnum, Jenny’s manager, arranged for her to sing in two farewell concerts in Liverpool.  Finishing her farewell concerts, Jenny Lind set off for America and arrived in New York City on September 1, 1850.  Few Americans knew Jenny.  Her first American productions, which were held at New York City on September eleventh and thirteenth, and at Castle Garden Theater on September seventeenth, 1850 were performed for charity.  Jenny Lind was successful in her many public appearances in America.

Jenny influenced many people.  She inspired her suitors.  Many loved her singing.  She had many admirers, including Von Schneidau, who was the first American photographer of Lind, and Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Hans Christian Andersen.  Hans Christian Andersen met and fell in love with Jenny in 1843, and the two became great friends, but Jenny never had romantic feelings for him. Greatly inspired by her, he composed three of his fairy tales for Jenny.  They were: “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Nightingale,” and “The Angel.”  Queen Victoria wrote in her diary: “The great event of the evening was Jenny Lind’s appearance and her complete triumph.  She has a most exquisite, powerful, and really peculiar voice, so round, soft, and flexible.”

Jenny also had influences on the modern world.  Several movies have been produced starring actresses who portrayed Lind.  In 2005, an opera was written about her.  Annually, a soprano is selected as the American Jenny Lind.  Meanwhile, the Swedes choose a Swedish Jenny Lind who travels to America and sings with the American Jenny.  Afterwards, both of them go to Sweden and perform there.  Many modern occurrences in the world were influenced by Jenny. 

While in the United States, Jenny, the singer with a golden voice, married pianist Otto Goldschmidt in 1852.  They moved to England in 1856.  After returning to Europe, Jenny concluded her professional singing career, thereafter making only honorary appearances.  She sang mostly Bach, whose music she favored.  Her last public performance was on January 20, 1870, when she sang in “Ruth,” an oratorio composed by her husband.  Jenny and her husband had three children: Walter Otto Goldschmidt, Jenny Maria Katherine Goldschmidt, and Ernest Svend David Goldschmidt.  For several years, she was a professor of singing at the Royal College of Music.  Jenny Lind died from cancer on November 2,1887, in Molvern, Worcestershire.  Jenny’s legacy as the Swedish Nightingale and the world’s golden-voiced singer endures.