Joyce DiDonato to make screen debut as 'world's worst singer'
by Delia Bartle
The acclaimed American mezzo-soprano will play Florence Foster Jenkins, the infamously bad singer, in a new film.
American coloratura mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato will make her cinematic debut as the infamous American soprano Florence Foster Jenkins – dubbed the world’s worst singer – in the new film, The Florence Foster Jenkins Story.
A soprano and a socialite, Jenkins (1868-1944) was known for her lack of rhythm, pitch and dubious tone – but her recordings still outsell many contemporary singers. She gave performances in small salons and recital halls to audiences by invitation only, and her final performance in the prestigious Carnegie Hall was attended by the likes of singer Cole Porter, actress Kitty Carlisle and actress Marge Champion. Jenkins developed a cult following who were attracted to her single-minded determination to sing, despite her lack of ability, as well as her personal eccentricities. One such account of Jenkins’ irrepressible spirit tells how she once let out a scream while riding in a taxi that collided with another car. Afterwards, she sent the driver an expensive box of cigars because it was during the accident she found she could sing “a higher F than ever before”.
“In all my experience, I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered a singer who has lived more radically for the sheer act of singing, and the uninhibited sharing of that singing, than the legendary Florence Foster Jenkins,” says DiDonato of her upcoming screen debut portraying Jenkins. “Portraying her on film, my intention will not be to create any kind of a caricature, but instead to enter fully into her zany, passionate world where singing was paramount and the audacity of her desire to sing ‘like a bird’ ruled all.”
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