MENDELSSOHN was one of the distinguished persons Jenny had met at the Wichmanns' in Berlin before her debut and she had been overwhelmed when the great man went out of his way to be friendly and polite. But when he mentioned her own "great talent," she said sharply, "How can you speak like that when you have never heard me sing or seen me on the stage?"
"Welll" Mendelssohn replied, somewhat overwhelmed in his turn. "For this reason. All who have heard you have only one opinion. And that is so rare a thing that it is quite sufficient to prove what you are."
In the fall of 1845, Jenny renewed her contract with the Royal Opera House in Berlin and passed another supreme test when she sang Agatha in Der Freischütz. That had been the first of the romantic operas and, written by Weber, a German, it had been produced first in Berlin and had been sung by all the great German singers. Agatha had become a measuring stick of a prima donna's excellence, as far as Berlin was concerned.
When Jenny sang it, the cultured Berlin audience once again broke into the middle of a scene with tumultuous applause. The critic Rellstab wrote that her singing and interpretation of the role had given the opera "a new impulse and a new birth."
There was a person for whom Jenny's success as Agatha, in particular, would crown a life not remarkable in other ways--Madam Eriksson, who