Jenny Lind at Castle Garden

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By Tom Meyers and Bowery Boys Media. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

EPISODE 316 What happens when P. T. Barnum, America's savviest supplier of both humbug and hoax, decides it's time to go legit? Only one of the greatest concert tours in American history.

If you've seen the film musical The Greatest Showman, you've been introduced to Jenny Lind, the opera superstar dubbed "The Swedish Nightingale". And you also know that Barnum, taken with the Swedish songstress, brings her to New York to begin a heavily promoted American debut.

But the film sidesteps many of the more fascinating details. Lind was greeted like a queen and rock star when she arrived at the Canal Street dock despite most New Yorkers having never heard her sing.

Her stage was Castle Garden, the former fort turned performance venue that sat in New York harbor, connected to the Battery by a small bridge.

The concert proved legendary. And Lind proved herself an enterprising businesswoman, bending even the will of a profiteer like Barnum. Her financial arrangement for the tour would influence 170 years of musical performances and cement her reputation as one of the greatest vocalists of the 19th century.

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