Beyond Talent: Florence Foster JenkinsPosted: 30 July 2013
I’m keen to introduce you to the life and work of Florence Foster Jenkins (1868–1944), an amateur opera singer whose career transcended the limitations of that most mundane and stifling of personal qualities: talent.
Her cracked tones and dire prosody were hilarious enough to give her significant public success, culminating in a sell-out performance at Carnegie Hall a few weeks before her death. As long as people were eager to hear her, it was her joy to sing for them. Her commitment and bravery make the question of whether or not she was deluded irrelevant. She’s a hero of mine.
To her critics, she was said to have retorted: “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” Take it away, F.F.J.:
Let us celebrate Florence Foster Jenkins, but as we do so, let us not forget her loyal accompanist, the undoubtedly talented Cosmé McMoon, who supported her throughout the years, playing along for her benefit and for ours.