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Sembrich Opera Museum, Bolton Landing, N.Y., 2008 Home | Contact us
On the occasion of World TB Day and the 150 years of Marcella Sembrich
U.S. premiere of "Chopin and The Nightingale"
Dramatic reading with music:  Chopin and Jenny Lind's newly-discovered
romance in the words of Chopin and Hans Christian Andersen.
"La mort de Chopin";  detail of a lithograph based on the painting by Félix Barrias, Paris, 1885. .
The U.S. premiere of “Chopin and The Nightingale” - a dramatic reading with music in six acts for narrator, two sopranos and piano - took place at the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum, Bolton Landing, Lake George, New York State on 25 and 27 July 2008

Romance:  The drama chronicles the newly-discovered romance of the ailing Chopin and the celebrated Jenny Lind, The Swedish Nightingale, in 1848-1849. 

The story unfolds using quotes from Chopin's letters to family and friends.  They mirror to a surprising degree quotes taken from Hans Christian Andersen's story The Nightingale, a tale he wrote in 1843 as a tribute to Jenny Lind.

Music:  Chopin, Bellini and Meyerbeer and two Scandinavian signature-songs.

Program with research notes | Premiere photos

Jenny Lind in 1850
Jenny Lind  (1820-1887)
The Swedish Nightingale

She wrote to Andersen in 1871:  "I would have been happy to die for this my first and last, deepest, purest love".


The cast:  Jay Riedl (narrator), Christopher Johnson
(piano / Chopin), Megan Weston (soprano / Jenny Lind), and
Gisella Montanez-Case (mezzo soprano / Pauline Viardot).
click on
each photo.

Original scores of Jenny Lind's songs and her arrangement of Chopin's Mazurka
in A-flat op. 24, n° 3 are used (re-discovered in 2003 by Icons of Europe).  She sang this marzurka as well as a Meyerbeer duo with Pauline Viardot for
Queen Victoria.

Production:  Rosemary Andress directed the U.S. premiere of this innovative art form, assisted by Lindsey Gates and Chris Fitzgerald of the Lake George Theater Lab.  Richard Wargo, artistic director of the Marcella Sembrich Memorial Association and curator of the Museum, and Icons of Europe facilitated the production.

The premiere was set in the summer-long The Maiden’s Wish:  A Festival of Chopin, which commemorated the 150-year anniversary of Polish soprano and MET star Marcella Sembrich. 

  Cecilia and Jens Jorgensen, based on their Chopin biography and later research.  The drama has been performed at Brussels, Warsaw and Toronto to celebrate the new Europe and transatlantic relations, and to signal the importance of the WHO-managed World TB Day.  The biography is endorsed by leading Chopin experts and the Director-General of WHO.

In the context of World TB Day 2008,
the U.S. premiere benefited the
Icons of Europe TB Fund.  Chopin suffered from tuberculosis.  When Jenny Lind sang for him in 1848-1849, he felt better.  Jenny Lind performed at a charity concert at Her Majesty's Theatre in London for the benefit of the Brompton Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest on 31 July 1848.

"We believe that great culture captures the imagination and stimulates a discussion of an important societal issue such as the re-emergence of TB as a massive global challenge in the 21st century", says Jens A. Jorgensen, president of Icons of Europe.
Premiere listed by WHO:  Stop TB News April 2008.
"... the drama brings out the seamlessness of great European culture"

H.E. Mr Charles Crawford, British Ambassador to Poland,
wrote to the Foreign Office in London about the drama:

"It ingeniously brought together historical and musical elements from all over Europe ... to bring out the seamlessness of great European culture."                   Act V* >>

>>  Introductory page
>> Photos from the premiere

Year-of-Sembrich folder
Sembrich Opera Museum
Lake George Theater Lab
Marcella Sembrich | More
About Bolton Landing, N.Y.
Beautiful region for a holiday

Chopin (1810-1849)

Toronto 2005
Warsaw, 2004
Brussels, 2003

 from the Museum

In addition to her career in Europe, Marcella Sembrich (1858-1935) had more than
450 performances at
The Metropolitan Opera.

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875).
Hans Christian Andersen
(1805-1875).  He was in love with Jenny Lind, but she only saw him as a good friend.

Pauline Viardot
(1821-1910).  She knew both Chopin and Jenny Lind well.

Queen Victoria
Bellini | Meyerbeer

BOSTON (new research)

There is new evidence that the founding members of what became the distinguished
Boston Saturday Club, closely linked with Harvard University, were behind Jenny Lind's triumphal concert tour of America in 1850-1852.  The impresario P.T. Barnum managed the tour.

Jenny Lind married the German pianist Otto Goldschmidt at Boston in February 1852.

* ACT V:  Megan Weston, in her role as Jenny Lind, sings and accompanies herself in Ah non credea (Amina), the Finale of the last act of Bellini's opera La Sonnambula at Chopin's deathbed.  The original score says, "... as sung by Mademoiselle Lind on the Stage and subsequently at her Concerts".

Benjamin Lumley, director of Her Majesty's Theatre in 1847-1849, writes in 1864:  "Whilst Jenny Lind was in Paris [in 1849] ... she sat down to the piano and gave her incomparable Non Credea Mirarti." 

Lake George is situated in a beautiful region west of Vermont.  It is halfway between New York City and Montreal, and closer to Boston than to TorontoAlbany International Airport is located 100 km south of Bolton Landing, NY 12814

Find Lake George on this Michelin map
(search: United States / Bolton Landing).

View from the Opera Museum.
The Adirondack Mountains
shelter Lake George.

"The placid hydrangea bay, frequented by herons and ducks, is on the beautiful approach to the Opera Museum on Sembrich Point."
The museum is listed at the National Register of Historic Places.


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