1849The First Performances at Casino
Fourth Journey to Sweden
llustrations by Vilhelm Pedersen
January - late May
Particularly in January, HCA spends quite a bit of time assisting Fredrika Bremer, who later visits him on several occasions. Also sees her at social functions during her visit to Denmark.
During her stay she draws HCA. Fredrika Bremer sums up her impressions from Denmark in a little book titled Livet i Norden (Life in The North), which is published in Swedish, English, German and Danish.
Premiere at the Royal Theatre of the opera Brylluppet ved Como-Søen (The Wedding at Lake Como) with music by F. Glæser and ballet arrangement by Bournonville. The material is based on certain chapters of Al. Manzoni's novel "I promessi sposi". Released as a book on the same day. The opera receives "thunderous applause", (cf the almanac). Is performed 12 times during HCA's life.
First performance at Casino of the vaudeville monologue Mikkels Kjærlighedshistorie i Paris (The Love Story of Mikkel in Paris). At the Royal Theatre, where the monologue was initially performed in March 1840, it had been called Mikkels Kjærlighedshistorier i Paris (The Love Stories of Mikkel in Paris). At Casino it is performed a total of 7 times during HCA's life.
The cease-fire is cancelled and war recommences.
Maundy Thursday: The ship of the line 'Christian VIII' is blown up. HCA knows several of the victims by name. When the news spreads on 7th, "deep gloom" descends upon the town (in the almanac, same day). The theatres close on 9th, in mourning. During the next few days, trouble develops between HCA and Mrs Drewsen and Jette Wulff, who feel HCA is not Danish enough in his outlook. He, on the other hand, feels that they are fanatical.
HCA writes "Soldatens Sang til Dannebrog" (The Soldiers Song to The Danish Flag). It is printed in the newspaper 'Fædrelandet' on the same day.
En Nat i Roskilde (A Night in Roskilde) is performed at Casino. 46 performances held there during HCA's life.
Farewell party for HCA at Fredrika Bremer's, held because he is going to Sweden (inspired by Fredrika Bremer's descriptions of her country). HCA feels the need to get away from Denmark ("My mind was ill, I suffered both spiritually and physically, (in Mit Livs Eventyr (The Fairy Tale of My Life)).
Farewell party at Ørsted's, where Fredrika Bremer, Martensen and Hartmann are present.
Ascension Day: departs for Sweden by ship from Copenhagen, via Elsinore to Helsingborg. From here, on to Gothenburg, then on 22nd May with the steam-ship Polhem via the Göta Canal, past Trollhättan, through Vänern and Vättern and the archipelago to Stockholm.
25th May - 5th June
In Stockholm. Is very dissatisfied with the hotel - Stadt Frankfurt - in spite of the Danish manager. In a letter dated 28th May to Jette Wulff he writes:
"The hotel, which is one of the best - goodness, how foul it is, I have the most miserable room, revolting wooden furniture, the covers are old and smell vile, so that the windows now remain open day and night, and there is nothing better to be found. What a pity Stockholm does not have a hotel fit for people; ours in Denmark are not the best, but compared to this they're on a par with those in London".
In Stockholm HCA associates, amongst others, with the poet Baron Bernhard von Beskow (Oehlenschläger's close friend for many years) and with the poets J.G. Carlèn and Emilie Flygare-Carlèn, who were married. On 2nd June, HCA was received in audience by the Swedish King Oscar I, at which time he thanks the king for the North Star decoration and defends Denmark's right to continue the war. On 3rd June a party is held for HCA at the Trädgård Association.
HCA sends a letter from Stockholm to Bournonville containing a plan for the production of "Valkyrien, Ballet-Opera i to Acter af Bournonville. Musik af Glæser. Text af H.C. Andersen" (The Valkyrie). The project was never carried out, although Bournonville revived the idea later, without including HCA. In 186l, he had a ballet produced titled Valkyrien (The Valkyrie), with the text by him and music by J.P.E. Hartmann.
Denmark's new democratic constitution is now in effect.
Since his youth, HCA had been moderately liberal, often criticising the contempt for human beings which was characteristic in a society divided by class. Being an "underdog" himself, he had a natural interest in supporting the demand for societal change made by enlightened citizens of the bourgoisie. On the other hand, it was precisely this cultured bourgoisie who distanced themselves most from the upstart that HCA was. At the same time, he was widely accepted on the estates and in the households of royals and the princely, where artists, bohemians and eccentrics were not - as was often the case with the cultivated bourgoisie - considered to be dubious characters with shady morals.
This is part of the reason why HCA's feelings towards the actual societal developments are rather divided. After 1848 he feels increasingly sceptical about "the new rulers" and even more so towards the new political powers; farmers of recent wealth (those of the party called "Venstre", who by and by come to the fore as "subverters of society" and thereby pose a threat to HCA's accrued fortune). He is also dubious about the new bourgeoisie with capital (against whom Goldschmidt also turns critically during the 1860's).
However, at the time of the new constitution and system renewal, HCA is still primarily to be found amongst the liberals, cf. his connections with some of the leading liberal politicians (Lehmann and Monrad). His role during the public demonstrations in the streets of Copenhagen is, however, almost symbolic of the ambivalent position he holds.
Sails from Stockholm to Uppsala. Stays here until 11th June. At an evening party held by Governor Robert Fredrik von Kraemer, he hears the poet and university lecturer Gunnar Wennerberg perform one of his duets, "Gluntarne", with another person.
11th - 17th June
Once again in Stockholm. Dines with "bookseller" Bonnier. Pays a morning visit to the poet C.J.L. Almquist. Also visits and dines with the king and queen.
Departs Stockholm for a 14-day trip to Dalarne and Uppsala (visits Atterbom the poet, in the evening). On the outward journey he overnights in the town Sæter, where he is woken in the night by a fire in the courtyard of the inn. In many of the places he passes through people know of him. For example at the vicarage of Rural Dean Wilhelm of Ekestam in Tuna ("the most charming place on the whole journey, cultivated, pleasant people. I was well known and popular before even meeting them", as he writes to Jette Wulff on 24th June). And from the same letter:
"At one place where I changed horses, the man was so pleased to have the company of "Andersen" that he invited me in for coffee and port. I had only spent one night at Rättvik Vicarage in Siljan when the whole town was talking, at the doctor's, the curate's and the dean's, about my presence. The news spread like wild-fire, through the children. They knew all my fairy-tales and I found The Two Baronesses in several places, as well as A Walking Tour [Fodreisen til Amager]. All in all, Andersen from first to last".
Takes part in a moving Midsummer celebration at Leksand. Whilst here, he cuts a castle in paper for the daughter of the hostess,
"and she was so happy. Shortly thereafter I heard a shout of joy outside and I could not help but peek; the entire household was delighted. Then there was a knock at the door and old grandmother brought me some of her spicy biscuits, but with a request; would I cut, in the evening, some new shapes for her, for making biscuits, because I was able. So now I have sat for a whole hour, cutting out men, women, swans and dancers, and these are the future shapes of spicy biscuits in the town Leksand. I doubt they will be known as Andersen's biscuits, but the hostess will probably tell the story often; that there had been "a skilled stranger". There are many different ways of being immortalised! - Who would have thought that while Europe is being reshaped, I would come to Dalerne and revolutionise the shape of spicy biscuits! -"
(letter dated 24th June to Jette Wulff).
1st - 3rd July
In Uppsala. From here, HCA writes home to Jette Wulff on 2nd July:
"If you should see Reitzel [HCA's Danish publisher] then tell him that all the booksellers in Sweden are complaining to me that they can not get enough of my books from him [thus the Danish books were sold in Sweden, along with the Swedish translations]. They are in demand, but he on the contrary sends only work by those Danish writers who are considered more esteemed at home [!].
By ship from Uppsala, back to Stockholm, where HCA is invited to the king's birthday on 4th July. In Stockholm he socialises once more with the Beskows, visits Almquist, Lars Johan Hierta (the editor of Aftonbladet) and Bonnier.
Continues the journey home on 12th October. Stays from 13th - 20th at Bjärka-Säby Estate with Count Edvard Fredrik von Saltza ("quite a character, ghost-seer, writer [...] most odd, but very good and noble", as HCA describes him to Jette Wulff in a letter of 3rd August). Also at the estate is the composer J.A. Josephson, who he had met in Rome and Leipzig in 1846 and now also in Stockholm. Continues through Motala, where he sees a machine shop for the first time; "it was like standing by a great big, living monster, with no soul", "there was something "terrifying" about it" (in the diary, 23rd July). At an inn a few kilometres from Motala, HCA is awoken in the morning with song:
"a group of people stood down there in the rain and sang, facing my windows, I could not grasp the fact that it was for me, they carried on and I asked one of the servants who they were singing for. It was for me, it was the workers from the factory in Motala, who knew I was here and who wanted to pay me tribute; I felt most humbly happy! You can't imagine how it feels! How little they know of me, those who label me vain, but of course it is just at home in my country that this is said, and there I am loved and known only by a few"
(letter to Jette Wulff, 3rd August).
Continues via Vadstena ("one of the towns in Sweden which I found most interesting" same letter). Then travels via Hönsäter and Blomberg at Kinnekulle etc on the return journey to Copenhagen (16th August).
9th August - 18th December
Release of Eventyr. Med 125 Illustrationer efter Originaltegninger af V. Pedersen (Tales. With 125 Illustrations based on Original Drawings by V. Pedersen.
HCA participates in the festivities in honour of the Danish soldiers during their parade through Copenhagen.
10th - 25th September
Autumn trip to Glorup Estate. Visit to "Ellen Marsvin's Farm", ie. Holckenhavn.
Performance at Casino of the play: Meer end Perler og Guld. Eventyr-Comedie i fire Acter. Fri Bearbejdelse efter F. Raimund og 'Tusind og een Nat' (More than Pearls and Gold. Romantic Comedy in Four Acts. Adapted from F. Raimund and '1001 Nights'). The production is a great success. Up till 1888 it was performed 162 times. HCA comments on this in Mit Livs Eventyr (The Fairy Tale of My Life):
"It is safe to say that this play brought the Casino theatre into good credit. All classes of people came to see it, from the most distinguished to poorest. The Casino seats 2,500 people, and for a number of performances, one right after the other, all the tickets were sold out. This was therefore a great source of joy for me, as well as recognition".
HCA had stipulated that his fee would be 100 rdl. (which would be equal to at least 10.000 Dkr. in 1993 value). He later receives 100 rdl. more, as the play drew "full house" (Mit Livs Eventyr (The Fairy Tale of My Life)).One should, in this regard, recall that the provincial theatres did not pay writers for their work at this time. Only the Royal Theatre did so. HCA now begins a close co-operation with Casino, both as consultant and as writer of popular plays. At Casino he enjoys the kind of success which he had so often lacked at the Royal Theatre. Furthermore, he now gains a good source of income. He also takes part in the preparation of the production of his plays at Casino and in addition, he becomes a member of the shareholders' committee. In the next few years, HCA has a free pass to Casino every night of the week.
Meer end Perler og Guld (More than Pearls and Gold) is released as a book.
Participates with the song "Poesien" (The Poetic) at a gathering arranged to celebrate the 70th birthday of Adam Oehlenschläger, held at the Royal Rifle Range.
Dinner party held by HCA's friend from youth, Ernst Bilsted, owner of the country seat Høvdingsgaard.
"I had planned to stay home today, but an old friend from my student days, the young landowner Bildsted, who I have promised to visit for the last twenty years, we spoke on the street, wrote to me yesterday so nicely about breaking the ice by inviting me to dinner at his home today, and so I had to go [...] it was a great party, they were so kind to me, and I spoke at length with Professor Nielsen, the philosopher and son of a farmer [Rasmus Nielsen], who I find very interesting"
(letter to Jette Wulff dated 27th November).
Christmas visit to Bregentved Estate.