Icons of Europe

"Chopin and The Nightingale"


Warsaw premiere at the
Residence of the Ambassador of Sweden

Poland's Ministry of Culture and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute represented
One-hour musical drama for piano, two sopranos, narrator
Celebrating Chopin, Jenny Lind and Hans Christian Andersen
Music by Bellini, Chopin and Meyerbeer
6 April 2004
The Ambassador's introduction | Video of Act 6

Facing the audience and singing, Jenny Lind sounds the A on the piano to produce  an echo effect.  Lithograph after H. Leloir."Chopin and The Nightingale" replays the actual musical encounters of Chopin and Jenny Lind in the context of The Nightingale story of Hans Christian Andersen.
Background:  New research by Icons of Europe shows that Jenny Lind, with the knowledge of Queen Victoria, came to Paris in May 1849 with the objective of marrying Chopin.

Warsaw, 6 April 2004.  Act 5, Death:  Ljiljana Jovanovic at the piano singing and playing for Chopin as Jenny Lind did shortly before 17 October 1849. >
Act. 5:
Aria Finale

Delfina Potocka / the artificial bird singing and playing for Chopin / the emperor, who "lay cold and pale in his splendid bed".

Performed for a specially invited audience that included the Ambassadors of Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Culture of Poland and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.

The cast:
Daniel Blumenthal, piano
Biljana Staffansson, soprano
Ljiljana Jovanovic, soprano
Cecilia Jorgensen, narrator

Biljana Staffansson, Daniel Blumenthal and Ljiljana Jovanovic. The cast as well as Cecilia Jorgensen and her co-playwright Jens Jorgensen.

Act 1:  Coup-de-foudre - Mrs Grote's home, London, 2 May 1848
Act 2:  Magnolia - Clairville Cottage, Brompton, 12 May 1848
Act 3:  In doubt - Calder House, Edinburgh, 30 October 1848
Act 4:  Hope - Rue de Chaillot 74, Paris, early June 1849
Act 5:  Death - Place Vendôme 12, Paris, before 17 October 1849
Act 6:  Love - Buckingham Palace, London, 30 May 1856

With thanks to our sponsors:

The drama
Emperor:  Fryderyk Chopin, composer
Nightingale:  Jenny Lind, soprano
Artificial bird: Pauline Viardot, mezzo soprano
Storyteller:  Hans Christian Andersen

Playwrights:  Cecilia and Jens Jorgensen
Musical advisor:  Daniel Blumenthal
Producer:  Icons of Europe
Piano:  Steinway

Based on the historically correct information of the new biography, Chopin and Jenny Lind's encounters are seen as a real-life replay of Hans Christian Andersen's story The Nightingale.  He wrote this story in 1843 as a tribute to Jenny Lind - the woman he loved, but never could get.

The narrator introduces each act with original quotes from letters Chopin wrote in 1848-1849 to family and friends and from the Nightingale story.  These quotes, presented in English and Polish, match each other to a surprising and moving degree.  Each act is also embellished by the display of a large image.  The whole concept is flexible (i.e. music programme, multimedia, audience size, languages and timing, as well as the opportunity to support a humanitarian cause).

"The seamlessness of great European culture"
The drama and the music as well as the actors refer to a large number of countries:  Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain and Sweden, as well as Canada, China, Japan and the United States.

Copyright © 2003 Icons of Europe, B-1380 Lasne
Deposited with the U.S. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

H.E. Mr Charles Crawford, Ambassador of the United Kingdom wrote afterwards to his government:
"It ingeniously brought together historical and musical elements from all over Europe ... to bring out the seamlessness of great European culture."

(See countries below)

It could be added:
... while reaching out to Canada, China, Japan, Russia and the United States!

Brussels Oct. 2003
Articles in the press
The new biography
Icons of Poland

Chopin;  print based on a portrait by P. Schick.

"Yesterday I was at a dinner with J. Lind, who afterwards sang me Swedish things till midnight".

London, 13 May 1848

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), born in Odense, Denmark.

Born in Denmark,
Hans Christian Andersen wrote about Jenny Lind:

" … because she can never be mine …
though her voice stays
with me, forever,
in my story
The Nightingale":

- Dansk
- Deutsch
- English
- Français
- Polska

"W Chinach, wiesz pewnie o tym, cesarz jest Chinczykiem i wszyscy, którzy go otaczaja, sa równiez Chinczykami. ...".