The Swedish Nightingale
In September 1850, P. T. Barnum embarked
on a nationwide tour with a Swedish opera singer that would
bring him a vast fortune and create a new cultural phenomenon:
the celebrity. Barnum succeeded in building such great public
anticipation about the "Swedish Nightingale" that 40,000 people
showed up to greet the arrival of her ship in New York harbor.
From her opening concert in New York
City's Castle Garden to subsequent performances in cities and
towns across the country, Barnum fueled public fascination with
Lind by orchestrating events and negotiating Lind-endorsed
products (including Jenny Lind songs, clothes, chairs, and
"Lindomania" lasted until 1852, when the
partnership collapsed over logistical and financial issues.
Barnum shrewdly promoted Lindís
character--her modesty, benevolence, and selflessness--as much
as her artistry.
One scholar contends that because of
Barnumís promotion, Lind became "the standard for measuring not
just sopranos, or even women artists, but women" throughout the
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