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Viva La Diva Jenkins. The Opera Dreamer

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Dreamers in the RA community have suffered a hard blow this week.

That’s why I though a post on my favorite dreamer would lift our spirits.

Florence Foster Jenkins was an American amateur operatic soprano.

She was ridiculed for her lack of rhythm, pitch, tone, and overall singing ability.

Her desire to study opera was rejected by her wealthy father, but when he died,  Florence inherited sufficient funds to start her singing career.

The only problem was, despite what she believed about herself, she could hardly be regarded as a talented singer.

Her operatic repertoire was well beyond her technical ability.

Jenkins apparently was convinced of her greatness, and often compared herself to other great opera divas of that time.

After a taxicab crash in 1943 she discovered that she could sing “a higher F than ever before”, and sent the cab driver a box of expensive cigars.

She believed in herself, and loved to perform in front of perplexed audiences.

 Florence regarded the audience laughter during her performances as “professional jealousy.”

She often wore elaborate costumes during her performances, all paid for by the money she had inherited from her parents.

Sometimes she would done a pair of wings and tinsel.

She was famous for throwing flowers into the audience, which were later collected for the next performance. Once, in her enthusiasm, she apparently threw the whole flower basket at the unsuspecting spectators.

 Florence Jenkins.html

When she recorded, she would only sing an aria once, deeming it perfect as it was.

She was quoted as saying:

 “People may say I can’t sing,but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

She wasn’t a good singer, but she had a dream, and the courage to live the way she wanted.

We could all learn from that!

One of the greatest Polish actresses, Krystyna Janda, has played Jenkins in “Boska” for some years now, much to the delight of audiences.

About AgzyM

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons". A fangirl through and through, anglophile, and admirer of beauty whereever I can find it. I love books and art, and spend too much time admiring Richard Armitage and other amazing British actors.

17 responses »

  1. Lovely post!! Indeed, we could all learn something from that!!😉

    Reply
    • Florence always makes me smile🙂 It just shows that when you love something, you don’t have to be the best at it! Life really is very short to compromise.

      Reply
      • So true! I’m the first person who should learn something from her!!😉

        Reply
        • Believe me, me too! I often talk to people my age about how we were raised to not dream and just get on with it. That’s what i envy about my American friends. they were encouraged to persue their artistic interests. When communism fell, we were expected to get a good education, then a good job that would support us. There was little room for dreams😦 Never too late though!

          Reply
  2. Dosłownie słychać, że siła marzeń jest wielka i niepowstrzymana. Trzeba, bo inaczej po prostu człowieka udusi. A te radosne skoki i doskoki do szczebelków nagle odsuwanej drabinki dźwięków! Wniosek nasuwa się sam. Można nieść radość i sobie, i innym naprawdę w różny sposób i to jest fantastyczne. Nie o to chodzi, o co się rozchodzi przecież, jak mówi pieśń… Przypominam sobie Bogusia Kobielę w filmowej arii Jontka: „Szumią jodły na gór szczycie”. To byłby dopiero duet! W wesołym nastroju muszę poszukać mojego psa…

    Reply
    • Nie mogłam napisać o florence bez wzmianki o Jandzie. Bardzo się cieszę że nieudolna TVP wyemitowała Boską, szczegołnie że zwykle dość trudno o bilety na ten spektakl. Dla mnie Krystyna Janda to taki marzyciel który na przekór zdrowemu rozsądkowi stworzył Teatr Polonię i Och-Teatr. Bardzo mało jest odważnych marzycieli w Polsce, może nowe pokolenie to zmieni!
      Życzę owocnych poszukiwań psa. Moich nie szukam, wiecznie siedzą mi na kolanach…

      Reply
      • Mój się nie mieści, choćby chciał, ale i tak stale przy nich. Prysnął jednak po kilku “wprawnych” taktach Florence. Wrócił, jak myślałam, gdy tylko Florance dała spokój… Pozdrawiam.

        Reply
  3. God!! I didn’t remember her! I used to hear an excerpt of ‘The Queen of the Night’ from the ‘Magic Flute’ in a comedy radio show. They used it as a music theme for funny culture news.

    Never give up!. An awesome post, darling. Thanks for it. X-)

    Reply
    • Thanks Antonia🙂 Florence was an extraordinary character! We let the world dictate how we are supposed to live, but she just created her own reality, and died knowing she lived the life she wanted. Who’s to say if we are good enough? In her head she was the best that she could be! I adore that about her.

      Reply
  4. Reblogged this on y que iba yo a contar and commented:
    “La gente puede decir que no se cantar, pero ninguno podrá decir nunca que no canté” – Florence Foster Jenkins
    Ejemplo magistral de como la felicidad está en seguir los sueños a pesar de todo.

    Reply
  5. Snicker's Mom

    I’ve never heard of her. That was really interesting. It is nice that she followed her dreams, however, she was very cringe-worthy to listen to. There are many people out there like her, look at the auditions for the televised “talent” shows. It’s a shame she spent a lot of her money that way, but at least she was happy doing what she dreamed of.

    Reply
    • I think she provided much cheer! It was her money, and there were worse things she could have spent it on🙂 The botom line is she spent a portion of her life doing what she loved. On a seperate note, I will be joining the ballet. Time to order the costumes LOL!

      Reply
  6. Interesting.🙂 Thanks for the inspiring exemplum!

    Reply
  7. Jak to masakruje?>:| Przepięknie spiewa kobieta!:) Właśnie przed chwilą dałam podobny koncert w łazience,wszyscy sąsiedzi chwalą mój śpiew:) Dzięki IWanToBeAPinUp!:)

    Reply
    • Wierzę że sąsiedzi doceniają Twój talent! Na pewno te powybijane szyby w oknach i podpalenia drzwi nie mają absolutnie niczego wspólnego z łazienkowymi ariami😉 Czas przyczepić skrzydła i iść do ludzi! Czas dokształcać lud! Ukulturawiać go LOL!

      Reply

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