Meridian Star

Local News

September 8, 2006


The Meridian Star asked “Who’s That Lady?” in a recent edition, inviting readers to tell us who they think is represented in this image known as “The Lady of the Theater.”

The image appears in a lambrequin — a permanent curtain — above the stage in the renovated Grand Opera House of the Mississippi State University Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts.

Here are some of the responses:

• The Rev. Osborne Moyer of Meridian says he thinks “The Lady of the Theater” is a portrait of Jenny Lind.

Jenny Lind (Oct. 6, 1820-Nov. 2, 1887) was born in Sweden and was known as the “Swedish Nightingale.” Her first concert tour of the United States was in October 1850 under the management of P.T. Barnum.

• Cindi McLelland of Meridian said the opera house has always intrigued her and her children. She said, according to the Web site, “The Lady” could have been Johanna Gadski, who performed at the opera house and is reported to haunt it.

Johanna Gadski (June 15, 1872-Feb. 22, 1932) was born in Prussia. She was a popular singer in England and became a big hit in the United States during her tour of 1899-1900.

• Myra Mabry of Meridian said her father was a stage hand at the opera house in the 1920s, and he heard that Sarah Bernhardt inspired the portrait.

Sarah Bernhardt (Oct. 23, 1844-March 26, 1923) was born in France. She was a stage actress who first became famous in Europe and the United States in the 1870s. She later appeared in silent films in the early 1900s.

• Fred Edmiston of Meridian believes the woman in the decorative detail in the theater might be an actual person, but guesses it is simply an imaginative representation that any competent artist, of that day or this, might paint quite easily.

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