Tuesday 20 February 2018

LISTEN: Ear-piercing audio of real Florence Foster Jenkins, 'worst singer in the world' played by Meryl Streep in new film

Carnegie Hall farce: Meryl Streep is 'delightful' as opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins.
Carnegie Hall farce: Meryl Streep is 'delightful' as opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins.
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Meryl Streep has been getting rave reviews for her portrayal of opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins in the new film of the same name.

Florence, a wealthy socialite in early 20th century New York, wanted to be a great opera singer but she didn't have a note in her head.

It didn't stop her pursuing her dream, however, and with the help of her lover St Clair Bayfield, who shielded her from critics, she held annual concerts at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

However, when she insisted on holding a concert at Carnegie Hall, Bayfield couldn't protect and a legend was born, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

Streep plays Florence in Stephen Frears' new film and was required to sing terribly (Florence's singing was described as a 'cacophony of squawks and screeches) despite having a good voice herself.

Speaking to the Radio Times, she revealed she was aided by vocal coach Arthur Levy.

“I went to him twice a week, and broke his spirit,” she said. “I knew we had something when the accompanist, who played like this [does a serious face], would giggle periodically.

“I feel like I’m a B, B+ singer – I’m very well aware of my limitations. Much as I would have liked to be a good singer after I began studying opera as a child, I gave it up very early and sort of ruined my voice with smoking, drinking and debauchery."

However, bad as she manages to make Florence, it's still a whole other ball game listening to the real Florence tackle Mozart's Queen of the Night.

Have a listen to the audio here:

Florence Foster Jenkins is out in cinemas now.

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