Etikettarkiv: Dannström

Augusta’s Visit to the Semperoper in Dresden


Augusta had a deep interest in music and she had a good voice. She even had a waltz dedicated to her: “La Belle du Nord – Valse pour le Piano. Offerte à Mademoiselle Augusta Söderholm par Gustav Eklund.”

Augusta took singing lessons from one of Stockholm’s famous opera singers, Mr. Isidor Dannström. He was already famous in the 1840’s along with Jenny Lind. So when Augusta and her mother traveled through Germany in 1847, they made sure to visit the opera in both Berlin and Dresden.

The opera in Dresden was designed by architect Gottfried Semper. When Augusta visited the magnificent opera house – the Semperoper – it was new, having opened in 1841.


Dresden, July 1847

In the evening we went to the Opera where the walls are blue and white with gold. The cushions and chairs are covered with red velvet. Irresistibly, however, one’s gaze is drawn to the circular, white ceiling which is adorned with golden arabesques and four oval medallions depicting in allegorical figures – the music, the tragedy, the comedy, and the arts – painted in the clearest of colors. Between them, four smaller medallions appear which represent Goethe’s, Schiller’s, Mozart’s, and Beethoven’s portraits. A tasteful lamp with 96 gas flames throw their rays over this masterpiece. The curtain is made of red velvet with golden fringes and it hangs with beautiful folds. The foyer is semicircular, from which glass doors lead into the loges. The walls in this foyer are white lacquered and the only ornaments are rich, bronze candelabra which are surrounded by milk-white glass. By the windows are placed elegant couches with large mirrors above which are niches with busts of Weber, Mozart, and Lessing.



Unfortunately, the opera house was destroyed by fire in 1869. It was rebuilt and opened again in 1878. The Semperoper was again destroyed during the bombing of Dresden in 1945, and again rebuilt in 1985.

On the 4th of  October, we are delighted to have tickets to the Semperoper – we will be thinking of Augusta!

Balls, theater performances, and concerts

”I spent the winter and summer of 1848 at home in deepest solitude, sometime interrupted by a visit from and to Krusenhof.

In January 1849 I traveled, accompanied by Hanna Schubert, to Stockholm where we stayed with baroness Ribbing. Naturally, we had a good deal of amusement: balls, theater performances, and concerts followed in pleasurable succession. Lessons in singing for Mr. Dannström and dutiful visits in return for the previous evenings’ pleasures occupied our mornings.

Erik Sparre came often and paid us visits and Lieutenant Wahlfelt did not come less often. In the spring he proposed to me, but I have always been told that my heart is petrified, and truth is, I believe that it is made of harder material than those of people in general. Anyway, the amiable Lieutenant’s proposal was rejected and in July I returned happy and free to my peaceful, quiet home.”


Krusenhof was the neighboring estate about 3 miles from Augusta’s home at Loddby. Her best friends, the family Hjort, lived there until December 1850 when they moved to Kungsholmen, Stockholm. More about the  family will come in later posts.


Hanna Schubert (b. 1829) was Augusta’s cousin’s daughter. She married Erik Sparre (mentioned above) in 1851.


Mr. Isidor Dannström was an opera singer and composer who also gave singing lessons. He was very famous in the 1840’s along with Jenny Lind. His portrait (right) was drawn by Joseph W. Wallander.


And who was Wahlfelt, the suitor? Paul Axel Fredrik Wahlfelt (b. 1817) was in 1849 a 32-year-old lieutenant who was an instructor in gymnastics and weaponry. He must have started his military education at an early age as the artist Maria Röhl included him in a drawing (left) of young cadets in 1832 .

In 1844, he was also included in Fritz von Dardel’s painting of the Burgesses’ Coronation Ball (top of page). This was a ball held in honor of the coronation of King Oscar I and Queen Josephine. The painting probably depicts the newly introduced dance – the polka. What is also interesting is that von Dardel tagged the dancers, as we do in today’s Facebook pictures. Therefore, we know that Paul Wahlfelt was the 5th gentleman from the left or the 4th gentleman from the right. It seems like that would be the tall, blond officer in the middle.


And as a footnote, Paul Wahlfelt never married.


Fritz von Dardel’s painting:
Maria Röhl’s drawing of Wahlfelt:
Isidor Dannström:
Hanna Schubert: