Jenkins, Florence Foster. (1868-1944) [Barber, Samuel. (1910-1981)]

Florence Foster Jenkins - Record Humorously Signed and Inscribed by Samuel Barber

Rare privately issued gramophone recording of Florence Foster Jenkins, inscribed by Barber on the label "This great example of American singing - for Herbert - with warmest greetings / Sam Barber."

From the collection of Manfred Ibel (to whom Barber dedicated the piano concerto), but likely inscribed originally to Herbert Graf, stage director at the Metropolitan Opera House from 1936 to 1949.

Florence Foster Jenkins, an American girl born in 1868 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to a well-to-do family, has become a legend as “the world’s worst opera singer.”  She made some vanity 78 rpm records for the Mel-o-tone label during World War Two, and in October 1944 hired Carnegie Hall for a recital.  The bad reviews that resulted from that recital were said to break her heart and she died a few weeks later at age 76, but the recordings have kept her name and her art alive.  In recent years there have been several plays about her, and this year there are three full-length movies.  The first, a French comedy-drama titled “Marguerite” was released earlier this year.  A second produced in Britain and starring Meryl Streep as Jenkins will be released in the USA in August, 2016, and later this year a German docu-drama starring soprano Joyce di Donato as Jenkins will premiere.  Two different full-length biographies of Jenkins have appeared within the last weeks in England, by Darryl Bullock and the other by Jasper Rees.


Signed Document/Item
Classical Music