Thursday, March 19, 2009

Florence Foster Jenkins

My husband, yes the same one that found "My Redneck Wedding" on TV, last night introduced me to the greatness that is Florence Foster Jenkins. Mrs Jenkins was a wealthy society woman in the 30s and 40s who became known as the "World's worst professional Opera Singer." Her complete lack of pitch and tone are legendary.
Nevertheless she became the toast of high society. Her "rare" performances were almost always sold out, including her last performance at Carnegie Hall. Accompanied by pianist "Cosme McMoon" (who would later run a Gay Escort Service,) Mrs. Jenkins often performed original compositions (as well as well-known compositions which she butchered to the point of being unrecognizable) in home made gowns accessorized by wings and tinsel.

It is really no wonder her shows were sold out. The audience, often made up of society people, would mask their laughter by applause, so that the worst notes got the biggest reaction. Now Jenkins played the deluded diva routine till the end, saying that her critics were just jealous of her "talent." Whether she was really in on the joke or not will never be known, but without a doubt good old Cosme was. You can still buy her recordings today, and a recent play about her life "Souvenir," just played in San Francisco (hence Mrs. Jenkins coming into our lives.) The horror, the horror...

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