Jenkins, Florence Foster [née Foster, Nascina Florence ]
- Ryan Ebright
[née Foster, Nascina Florence ]
(b Wilkes-Barre, PA, July 19, 1868; d New York, NY, Nov 26, 1944). American amateur soprano. Born Nascina Florence Foster, she was married briefly to a doctor, Frank Thornton Jenkins. A significant inheritance following her father’s death allowed Jenkins to pursue her musical ambitions, which had been discouraged by her family. An eccentric New York socialite, Jenkins was involved in a number of New York clubs, musical and otherwise, including the Euterpe Club and the Verdi Club, the latter of which she founded in 1917. Jenkins achieved renown, however, for the vocal recitals she began to present annually from the 1930s in New York and the surrounding area. These immensely popular invitation-only events featured multiple elaborate costumes, semi-staging, and a program of art songs and opera arias drawn from the coloratura and dramatic soprano repertoires. In 1941 she recorded a number of arias and songs with Melotone Studios; RCA Victor later collected and released these recordings as albums. Much of her fame rests with these recordings, the best known of which is the Queen of the Night’s “Der Hölle Rache” from Mozart’s ...