Florence Foster Jenkins, Mozart’s Rebecca Black

By July 20, 2011Music

The Rebecca Black phenomenon, as it might be called, goes all the way back to the 20th century and Florence Foster Jenkins, whose shaky rendition of an aria from Mozart’s Magic Flute made her famous.

As BBC News Magazine reported:

The Rebecca Black phenomenon has echoes of the equally ridiculed Florence Foster Jenkins.

This shockingly bad songbird of the early 20th century was adored by crowds despite – or perhaps because of – her utter lack of singing ability. To keep a straight face through the YouTube clip of her mangling of Queen of the Night, from Mozart’s Magic Flute is an achievement.

Jenkins reportedly lived in blissful ignorance, mistaking the audience’s laughter for cheers, and as word of her terrible renditions spread, so did her celebrity.

Eventually her fans demanded she take the stage at New York’s Carnegie Hall, one that has been graced by superstars from Judy Garland to Billie Holiday.

She finally agreed to perform there in 1944 just before she died – and the tickets sold out in only two weeks.

Here is the YouTube clip of Florence singing Mozart’s “Queen of the Night” aria from The Magic Flute.  What do you think of people deriving fame from lack of talent?

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