Jackie Evancho, 10-year old classical crossover soprano from Pittsburg, PA is singing her way into the hearts of music lovers in her Youtube videos and recent entrance on the America’s Got Talent. Is Jackie the next ‘Swedish Nightingale’ Jenny Lind? Might we not call Jackie Evancho the ‘Pennsylvania Nightingale’? Jenny Lind, born Johanna Maria Lind, charmed European and American opera concert goers of the 1840s, at 17 years old, with her sweet, pure voice and earned the title ‘the Swedish Nightingale’ from her admiring public.
Like Jackie Evancho, darling of Youtube and now America’s Got Talent (by command performance), Jenny Lind’s powerful singing voice was discovered at a tender ago, only nine years old. Madamoiselle Lundborg, prima ballerina for the prestigious Royal Swedish Ballet, heard rumor of little Jenny’s lovely voice and helped Jenny Lind audition for the Royal Theater School. By 17, under the tutelage of maestro Karl Magnus Craelius, Jenny Lind was singing to adoring fans in exhalted places as court singer. Der Frieschutz, was the musical theater piece that Jenny Lind made her own. Jenny Lind toured America with Mr. P.T.Barnum as a ‘wonder of the musical world’.
Listening to Jackie Evancho singing Puccini, ‘O mio babbino caro’, almost 170 years after Jenny Lind, sung to her audience, I have some sense of what the Swedish Nightingale’s listeners may have felt. Awe, in such raw talent in one so young; wonder at so strong a voice coming from one so small; but mostly, delight in the privilege of hearing such lovely music from such a musical prodigy.
As with Paul Potts, Susan Boyle and other talent surprises, it gives me a chills and a sense of joy to hear these wonderfully talented people, especially when so magnificent a voice comes from a unexpected source.My grandfather was convinced that Jenny Lind was the most wonderful singer in the world, even though few recordings are available of her voice. I think he would have loved Jackie Evancho. I wish Jackie Evancho all the very best with her musical career.