Glorious! tells an incredible story of Florence Foster Jenkins, considered to be ‘world’s worst opera singer’. Despite her complete incompetence, this amazing woman enjoyed great public success. Critics mercilessly scolded her, but the shows sold very well, and her admirers were willing to pay twice the price to get to see her perform live. To an even bigger surprise, many celebrities of the time, including Enrico Caruso, the famous tenor, were amongst her fans.
Ignoring the scorn and criticism, Florence appeared on stage in bright shiny gowns, with intricate hairdos and, sometimes, with angel wings on her back, and sang passionately. ‘People may say I can’t sing, but no one can say I didn’t sing’, famously said Jenkins. The audience adored her for her courage, sincerity, eccentricity and incredible inner freedom.
Peter Quilter’s play was first performed on London’s West End and, to its author’s delight, in 2013 Roman Viktyuk decided to produce it in Moscow. The director was most drawn to Jenkins’s fearlessness exclusive belief in her passion: singing. He commented on the play: “Why do people still remember Jenkins and why has she not disappeared from human memory, even though it has been almost 70 years since her death? The reason is il fuoco sacro or the ‘holy fire’ as the Italians like to say, that burned in her all her life”.