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Around the Town Centre

Point J - City Halls – Jenny Lind & Lajos Kossuth

W alking Route Instructions : We have arrived at the last stop on our route, the City Halls at 100 Candleriggs, G1 1NQ.

The City Halls have hosted numerous musicians, speakers and orchestras over the years. Here are two guests who have appeared at the City Halls with links to Sweden in Jenny Lind and to Hungary with Lajos Kossuth:

Jenny Lind

Jenny Lind – painting by J. Wilson

The famous Swedish Opera Singer, Jenny Lind, sang in Glasgow.

The following advertisement is found in the Glasgow Herald on 29 September 1848 (alongside reports of Chopin’s visits, and concern regarding political developments in France).

Advertisement for Jenny Lind Operas

THEATRE ROYAL – JENNY LIND

THE REMAINING TICKETS for the TWO GRAND OPERAS, LA FIGLIA DEL REGGIMENTO, AND LA SONNAMBLA. 

(To be Performed on MONDAY and WEDNESDAY Next the 2nd and 4th October.)

May be had on application at the Box Office of the Theatre,

To-day and following days, from 11 till 4 o’clock.

Mr. Edmund Glover respectfully informs the public, 

that Mademoiselle Lind’s other engagements will 

prevent the possibility of a Third Performance. 

Regarding the Operas: http://www.operascotland.org/news/51/Jenny+Lind

Jenny Lind toured Scotland in 1848, singing in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth along with some other places; she is also recorded as singing in the City Halls in Glasgow in September 1847.  

City Halls Glasgow – photo by J. WIlson

In 1850, she famously travelled to America where she toured and was promoted by P.T. Barnum of the circus fame and her character is alluded to in The Greatest Showman, where her character sings “Never Enough”.

The newspaper reports of October 1848 reveal that she sang in the Theatre Royal in Dunlop Street which was connected with Mr Edmund Glover, who is mentioned above, and he was certainly based there in 1852. She also gave a concert on 6 October again in the City Halls. The Glasgow Herald of 9 October gave an extensive rave review [https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=18481009&printsec=frontpage&hl=en]; of one piece it said:

“When we say it was perfect, we need add no single word more.”

But there was much complaint about the cost of tickets and the exploitation of great talent, in her three Glasgow appearances:

“… the enormous charges made for the various evenings were quite enough to scare away all but the enthusiastic and wealthier portion of the musical dilletanti of Glasgow.”

Seats at the operas apparently cost 25 shillings; newspaper advertisements reveal that the best seats for the concert cost 1 guinea (about £110 now), and the complaint was that the theatre owners (“mere traffickers in public amusements”) were cashing in strongly on Jenny Lind’s talent.

However Jenny Lind’s reputation was extensive through Europe, notably in Denmark, Austria and Germany, a fact reinforced by the story (much copied in other papers) which apparently originated in the Glasgow Citizen later in October 1848. It is related that two German girls traveled through by train from Edinburgh to see La Figlia del Reggimento, and somehow contrived to converse with Jenny Lind backstage; subsequently they were granted an audience (“.. a favour denied to many of higher note…”) at the Star Hotel. Does one sense the singer’s entourage releasing good stories?

More reading about theatre history

To see an image of the Theatre Royal that was in Dunlop Street Glasgow: http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/Glasgow/TRDunlop.htm The Theatre burnt down in 1863 and was demolished in 1869 to make way for St Enoch’s Station.

Sept 29, 1848 Glasgow Herald: The Glasgow Herald – Google News Archive Search

Edmund Glover and the Theatre Royal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Glover

Hungarian Lajos Kossuth

The City Halls also played host to the famed Hungarian Lajos Kossuth who made a speech there in 1854 : Kossuth’s speeches in the City Hall at Glasgow, July 5th, 1854 – Lajos Kossuth – Google Books

Walking Route Instructions : We hope you have enjoyed our walk. To return to the start, continue up Candleriggs to Ingram Street. Turn left and walk along Ingram Street to the Gallery of Modern Art. Walk along the left side of the Gallery along Royal Exchange Square then Exchange Place. Turn right onto Buchanan Street then immediate left onto Gordon Street. After a few blocks you will be back at the Ca d’Oro building and the start of our walk.