Liad (Goldschmidt), Jenny, a Swedish vocalist, born in Stockholm, Oct. 6, 1821. From infancy she manifested a remarkable talent for singing. When about nine years old she entered the musical academy at Stockholm, where she made such progress that at the end of a year she was deemed fitted for the stage, on which she soon made her appearance in juvenile parts, showing dramatic talents not less remarkable than her vocal accomplishments. For two years she performed to the delight of Stockholm audiences, when the upper notes of her voice became clouded and harsh, and the idea of preparing her for the grand opera was abandoned. For four years she remained in obscurity, forbidden to exercise her voice, and finding her chief enjoyment in studying instrumental music. When she was about 16 years of age accident brought her upon the stage one night, temporarily to assume an unimportant part in one of Meyerbeer's operas, and she discovered that her voice had returned to her with more than its former purity and power. The next day she was invited by the manager of the opera to assume the part of Agatha in Weber's Freischutz, and for nearly two years she was the reigning prima donna of the Stockholm opera.
Feeling, however, that her voice was not under sufficient control, she went in 1841 to Paris, and put herself under the instruction of Garcia, then the first singing master in Europe. He gave her little encouragement; but about a year after her arrival in Paris she was introduced to Meyerbeer, in whom she found an appreciative admirer of her talents, and from whom she subsequently received an invitation to sing in the opera at Berlin. She made her reappearance upon the stage in her native city, and in 1844 first sang before a Berlin audience at the opening of the opera house, as Vielka in Meyerbeer's Fcldlager in Schlesien. Thenceforth her reputation increased with every performance, and in Vienna and other musical cities she was received with great enthusiasm. In May, 1847, she made her debut before a London audience as Alice in the opera of Robert le diable, and excited a sensation almost without a parallel in the history of the opera in England. During this season she also appeared as Marie in La fille du regiment, Amina in La sonnambula, Norma in the opera of that name, and Agatha in Der Freischutz. For the next three years she appeared repeatedly in England, Germany, and Sweden, adding meanwhile to her parts those of Lucia di Lammermoor, Adina in L'Elisir d'amore, Susanna in the Nozze di Figaro, and Elvira in I Puritani, and showing her versatile powers in oratorios and miscellaneous concert music.
In September, 1850, she came to America, under an engagement with P. T. Bar-num to give a series of 150 concerts. Her first concert in New York excited the wildest enthusiasm. The tickets were put up at auction, a hatter paid several hundreds of dollars for the choice of the best seat, and large sums were given for other desirable places. Her share in the proceeds of this concert, amounting to about $10,000, was bestowed upon local charities. A like excitement attended her appearance in other cities; but in June, 1851, availing herself of an article in the agreement, she terminated the engagement after the 95th concert, and gave thereafter a series of concerts on her own account. During her stay in Boston she was married to Otto Goldschmidt, a young pianist who had accompanied her on a part of her American tour. Returning with him to Europe, she resided for a while at Dresden, and in 1858 removed to London. She refused to reappear upon the stage, but gave several concerts for the benefit of the poor, in London and elsewhere, one of the latest being given at Cannes, France, in 1866. Her voice, a soprano, embracing a register of 2 1/2 octaves, was not less remarkable for sweetness and purity of tone than for its sympathetic power.
Her execution was equally remarkable, and in the interpretation of many varieties of music, from the oratorios of Handel to the rondos of Rossini or Donizetti, or simple national ballads, she was without a rival.