In psychology, there is a term "Dunning-Kruger effect" - this is a state of a person who, with low abilities, considers himself talented and even brilliant. This quality was characteristic of Florence Foster Jenkins, an American pianist and singer, who, nevertheless, left a noticeable mark on her art.
The future “prima donna” was born in 1868 in New York. Parents were able to pay for any whims of their daughter and sought to educate her in the spirit of art. At the age of eight, Florence was sent to study music - she began to play the piano. This creativity captured the girl so much that she decided to devote herself entirely to music.
After leaving school, Florence wanted to go to Europe to continue her singing studies, but her father refused to pay for her studies. The girl was not going to give up her dream, and ran away with her lover - Frank Thornton Jenkins. In Europe, she gave piano lessons, and lived with these incomes. And although all her family and acquaintances reacted negatively to her idea of becoming an opera singer, she constantly made efforts to do so.
When Florence was already under forty years old, her father died, leaving her daughter a good inheritance, and now she could realize her dream. The future diva began taking lessons from the most famous opera singers. By that time she lived in Philadelphia, actively participated in the musical life of the city and even founded the Verdi club, where she invited classical lovers.
First creative failures
Jenkins' first solo concert took place in 1912, and since then she has started performing at various venues quite often. Her annual concert at the Ritz-Carlton became a must, and soon she became famous in New York.
Spectators of her concerts noted that when she began to sing, "nothing could stop her", "she imagined herself to be a great singer." She was called unique due to the fact that her voice did not match the level that Jenkins claimed. She had no ear for music, a sense of rhythm and the strength of her voice. And even the accompanist sometimes could not help laughing during its performance. The audience also laughed, but Florence did not pay attention to it.
In 1937, Jenkins recorded her first disc, and it was all done in the original manner too: no tuning, no rehearsals. The disc was recorded the first time, and the singer called it "great". Records were also recorded from him.
For a very long time, Jenkins did not agree to perform at Carnegie Hall, although this stage is considered the most prestigious in New York. And finally, this performance was scheduled for October 25, 1944. The audience was in a hurry to buy up tickets, the excitement was unprecedented, ticket prices were growing every day.
Florence was then 76 years old, but she was in great shape. The audience during the concert greeted her as always - with laughter and ridicule. The singer did not show that she was upset, but a month after this event she died. The disappointment after the concert could well have been the reason.
Florence's husband was the same Frank Thornton Jenkins, with whom she left for Europe. However, their relationship did not go well, because Frank was against her musical pursuits. In 1902, they divorced, and Florence never married again.
In 2016, the feature film "Diva Florence Foster Jenkins" was released, where the role of the singer was played by Meryl Streep, and her husband was played by Hugh Grant.