Icons of Europe This fleur-de-lys represents the aims of Icons of Europe asbl.  The fleur-de-lys figure has been used as an ornament or emblem by almost all civilisations of the old and new worlds.
Introduction by the Swedish Ambassador, Warsaw
Residence of the Ambassador, Warsaw, 6 April 2004
The host, H.E. Mr Mats Staffansson, Ambassador of Sweden to Poland, introduced the musical drama by the statement below
(an excerpt).

The  specially invited audience included the Ambassadors of Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States;  representatives of the Ministry of Culture of Poland and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute;  and industry VIPs.  A comité of six ambassadors honoured the Brussels premiere in October 2003.


EXCELLENCIES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

"... Jenny Lind, the Swedish soprano, is not yet very well known in Poland.   However, she was what you would call a mega star of her time and also a wealthy and generous philanthropist.  She was born in Stockholm in 1820 and was ten years younger than Chopin.  Jenny Lind made a fantastic career, first in Europe and then in America.  She was often referred to as "The Swedish Nightingale", and her memorial at Westminster Abbey in London is placed next to those for Händel and Shakespeare.

A few years ago, after a long and successful international business carrier, the Swedish-Danish couple Cecilia and Jens Jorgensen, who are with us this evening, founded the non-profit organization called "Icons of Europe".   Based in Brussels, their activities focus on historical research and classical music events related to Icons of art, music, literature and science.  Mr and Mrs Jorgensen have given high priority to Icons of the new members of the EU and their relationship with Icons of other countries.

Vincenzo BelliniThe research they conducted last year on the life of Chopin led to some completely new and until now unknown facts and conclusions concerning the relationship between Chopin and Jenny Lind to whom Chopin referred in many of his letters in 1848-1849.   They discovered that Jenny Lind with a high degree of probability was the anonymous donor of the 25,000 francs Chopin received in July 1849 - a very large sum of money at that time. Bellini's opera "La Sonnambula" was the key to that discovery.

But more than that, Cecilia and Jens found strong evidence that Jenny Lind, with the knowledge of Queen Victoria, came to Paris in May 1849 with the objective of marrying Chopin - and that she never came over her loss of Chopin.   However, Chopin's own letters do not reveal his thoughts on the marriage plans.   These findings are documented in this biography - "CHOPIN and The Swedish Nightingale" and in a subsequent research paper, which was the subject of a roundtable discussion hosted by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute a month ago at Warsaw Philharmonic.

On the basis of their book, Cecilia and Jens wrote the musical drama "Chopin and The Nightingale", which will have its world premiere here in Poland in a few minutes.  This drama is based on researched historical facts.  You will hear music by Chopin and Bellini and you will hear the songs that Jenny Lind used to sing for Chopin during their encounters in 1848-1849 and later.

Hans Christian AndersenPlease note also the parallels between this real-life drama and Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale, "The Nightingale" / Slowik.  Andersen was in love with Jenny Lind but could never get her attention, and he wrote this story as early as 1843 as a tribute to her.  The parallels are also illustrated by the authentic quotes you will find in the handout - in Polish. ...".