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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, this is for real and not from some Marx Brothers movie...., 29 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Murder on the High C's (Audio CD)
The legendary Mrs. Florence Foster Jenkins "sings" her heart out on this CD. She does so with relish, verve and gusto but with a voice that your hair stand on end. Have a care and make very sure your cat or your dog are outside before tou pop this in your CD player.
I like a good laugh as much as the next man and yes, Mrs. Florence Foster Jenkins's musical offerings are so g*dawful bad it is almost unbelievably funny but....
But there is also the fact that the gormless creature herself apparently sincerely and steadfastly believed she possessed oodles of talent! She really was convinced that she was Maria Malibran, Giuditta Pasta, Jenny Lind and Dame Nellie Melba, all rolled into one.
Also, apparently, she never noticed or even suspected how cruelly her leg was being pulled by her "adoring audience". Admission to her few annual "recitals" in the foyer of the New York Ritz hotel was highly sought after.
This fact makes always makes me a bit uncomfortable when listening to Mrs. FFJ. On the one hand I can't help wincing and laughing to myself at her preposterous attempts at "diva-dom" and yet there's also that ever so slight frisson of guilty embarrassment of laughing at someone behind his, or in this case her, back. Which mostly isn't actually all that funny, but rather cheap and easy.

Someone close Mrs. FFJ ought off course to have had the balls to tell her to stop making such a ludicrous exhibition of herself. No one ever did and she happily lived on in her self-created and self-funded (thanks to inheriting a whopping great fortune) charade. It must have been very drôle to hear her and perhaps even more so to watch her.
For during her recitals this portly and middle-aged lady dressed up in the most incredibly stereotypical and over-the-top Opera costumes: and the audience was treated to a parade of fantastic, beached whale-like Carmens, Brunhildes, Queens-of-the-Night-from-the-Magic-Flute, Greek godesses, Vestal virgins, Warrior princesses and so on.
Still, I do wonder: but didn't anyone in the audience find it the slightest bit painful or embarrassing, to make fun of the silly old moo?
On the other hand, she was fully compos mentis and willingly chose to make such a spectacle of herself for more than 30 years. She financed it all out of her own money, donated the substantial admission fees she reaped to various charities, along with great chunks of her inheritance. She did nobody any harm with her antics and did what few of us do: she lived out her dream of being a diva to the fullest of her abilities. There is much to admire in her attitude. Good for her!

Mrs. FFJ reminds me of those characters the great Margaret Dumont used to play in those '30s and '40s Marx Brothers comedies, you know the type: the rather stout, benign, rich, none too bright, hoity-toity dowager and socialite, who falls victim to the most relentless piss-taking by Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc and Bashful.

So enjoy this, but spare a thought for Mrs. FFJ. People applauded her wildly, but laughed at her behind her back. Not very nice that. Bit cruel, even. I deducted one star for that.
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Location: Groningen, Netherlands

Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,815,667