17 June 2012

Christina Nilsson

Christina Nilsson, Countess de Casa Miranda, (20 August 1843 - 20 November 1921) was a Swedish operatic soprano. She possessed a brilliant bel canto technique and was considered a rival to the Victorian era's most famous diva, Adelina Patti. Nilsson became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1869.

Christina Nilsson was born Kristina Jonasdotter in the village of Sjöabol, near Växjö, Småland, to the peasants Jonas Nilsson and Cajsa-Stina Månsdotter. From her earliest years, she demonstrated vocal talent. She taught herself to play on the violin and flute, and sang in the peasants' fairs in Sweden with her brother. She was discovered by a prominent civil servant when, aged 14, she was performing at a market in Ljungby. He soon became her patron, enabling her to have vocal training. She was a pupil of Franz Berwald for two years.

In 1860 she gave concerts in Stockholm and Uppsala. After four years' study in Paris, she had her operatic début 1864 as Violetta in Giuseppe Verdi's opera La Traviata at the Théâtre Lyrique, Paris. After this success she sang at major opera houses in London, Saint Petersburg, Vienna and New York. She also appeared in the Metropolitan Opera's inaugural performance on October 22, 1883 in Gounod's Faust.

Christina Nilsson was married in Westminster Abbey to the French banker Auguste Rouzaud, who later died in 1882. In 1887 she married Angel Ramon Maria Vallejo y Miranda, Count de Casa Miranda, who died in 1902. In correspondence, Nilsson often signed her first name as Christine, and during the last part of her life she was generally known as the Countess de Casa Miranda.
She died in Vaxjo, Sweden in 1921. Unfortunately, unlike Patti, she never made gramophone recordings of her voice.

Nilsson was the model for Pandora by Alexandre Cabanel, 1873

There are many similarities between Nilsson and the character of Christine Daaé in Gaston Leroux's novel Phantom of the Opera, and many believe Leroux based the character on the real-life opera singer, although evidence for this is unverified.

source: Wikipedia

12 June 2012

Eva Carrière

The medium Eva Carrière with a light manifestation between her hands and a materialization on her head. - Albert von Schrenk-Notzing, May 17, 1912, Institute for Border Areas of the Psychology and Psychohygiene, Freiburg / Germany

Eva Carrière (born Marthe Beraud), was a prominent spiritualist and psychic medium in the 19th century. She was born in 1886 in France.

Carrière’s psychic performances were investigated by Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery series. He believed that her performances were genuine and that she was not engaged in any deception. However, another psychic investigator of the time, Harry Houdini, observed one of her séances and asserted that they were fraudulent. Houdini was never convinced by Carrière and likened her performance to a magicians’ trick, the Hindu needle trick.

7 June 2012

Herman Bang

Herman Joachim Bang (April 20, 1857 – January 29, 1912) was a Danish author, one of the men of the Modern Breakthrough.

Bang was born into a noble family of Asserballe, on the small Danish island of Als, the son of a South Jutlandic vicar (a relative of N. F. S. Grundtvig). His family history was marked by insanity and disease.
When he was twenty he published two volumes of critical essays on the realistic movement. In 1880 he published his novel Haabløse Slægter (Families Without Hope), which aroused immediate attention. The main character was a young man who had a relationship with an older woman. The book was considered obscene at the time and was banned.[1] After some time spent in travel and a successful lecture tour of Norway and Sweden, he settled in Copenhagen and produced a series of novels and collections of short stories which placed him in the front rank of Scandinavian novelists. Among his more famous stories are Fædra (1883) and Tine (Tina, 1889).

The latter won for its author the friendship of Henrik Ibsen and the enthusiastic admiration of Jonas Lie. Among his other works are Det hvide Hus (The White House, 1898), Excentriske Noveller (Eccentric Stories, 1885), Stille Eksistenser (Quiet Existences, 1886), Liv og Død (Life and Death, 1899), Englen Michael (The Angel Michael, 1902), a volume of poems (1889), and recollections, Ti Aar (Ten Years, 1891).

Bang was a homosexual, a fact which contributed to his isolation in the cultural life of Denmark and made him the victim of smear campaigns. He lived most of his life with his sister but found happiness for a few years with the German actor Max Eisfeld (1863–1935), with whom he lived in Prague in 1885-86. Uninterested in politics, he was distant from most of his colleagues in the naturalist movement.

Failed as an actor, Bang earned fame as a theatre producer in Paris and in Copenhagen. He was a very productive journalist, writing for Danish, Nordic and German newspapers, developing modern reporting. His article on the fire at Christiansborg Palace is a landmark in Danish journalism.

Bang is primarily concerned with the "quiet existences", the disregarded and ignored people living boring and apparently unimportant lives. He is especially interested in describing lonely or isolated women. Ved Vejen (Katinka 1886) describes the secret and never fulfilled passion of a young wife of a stationmaster, living in a barren marriage. Tine (1889), which has the war with Prussia in 1864 (the Second War of Schleswig) as background, tells the tragic love story of a young girl on the island of Als. Stuk (Stucco, 1887) tells the story of a young man's love affair that is fading away without any real explanation, against the background of the "Gründerzeit" of Copenhagen and its superficial modernization and economic speculation. In Ludvigsbakke (1896) a young nurse squanders her love on a spineless childhood friend, who eventually deserts her in order to save his estate by marrying a rich heiress.

Some of his books, including Tina and Katinka (English titles), have been translated into many languages and filmed. One film adaptation was Bang's novel Mikaël (1904), which was adapted into a film Michael (1924) by Carl Theodor Dreyer.

Bang's works earned him renown as a leading European impressionist writer. Bang's last years were embittered by persecutions and declining health. He traveled widely in Europe, and during a lecture tour of the United States he was taken ill on the train and died in Ogden, Utah.

source: Wikipedia

6 June 2012

Poor Jo - c. 1860

Poor Jo” is one of Reijlander’s most popular works, and its subject can be considered the original poster child for the homeless. Using a boy from the local Ragged School for the poor, Rejlander re-created a scene he had once witnessed in London. Hailed by critics for its “eloquent pathos and expression,”the photograph aroused sympathy from a society increasingly aware of the destitution in its midst, thanks to works by Charles Dickens and by the founder of “Punch” magazine, Henry Mayhew.

via National Gallery of Canada

4 June 2012

Attila Sassy

Attila Sassy (1880-1967) was an hungarian artist, primary proponent of the Art Nouveau in Eastern Europe.

3 June 2012

Anna Duncan by Arnold Genthe - c.1916

Anna Duncan, born Anna Denzler in Moudon, Switzerland, was one of Isadora Duncan’s six adopted daughters who performed together and were known informally as The Isadorables.
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