Etikettarkiv: Opera

Marie Taglioni, the Swedish ballerina

In July of 1847, Augusta and her mother visited the opera in Berlin.

Berlin, 3 July 1847

After we had left Kroll’s garden, we went to the Opera where we saw the best arranged ballet I have ever seen, and where we had the opportunity to admire Madame Taglioni’s enchanting pas.

So what ballet did they see, and who was Madame Taglioni? After a lot of googling, I still can’t find what performance they saw.

But Madame Taglioni was a super star.

Marie Taglioni was Swedish, born in Stockholm in 1804. Her father was a famous dancer and choreographer, and he was also her teacher. Marie and her father left Sweden for Vienna in 1818 and she had her first performance in 1822.

Marie Taglioni’s foot

In the early 1800s, ballerinas started to dance on their toes. Marie Taglioni was the first ballerina to dance a full-length ballet en pointe. However, at this time, there were no pointe shoes. There are anecdotes about Marie darning the front of her ballet slippers so that they would provide more support.

Her most famous role was in La Sylphide in 1832. She was soon as famous as her Swedish contemporary singer, Jenny Lind. Colored prints and etchings of her in various roles were in high demand.

How exciting it must have been for Augusta to see Marie Taglioni at the Royal Opera in Berlin in 1847. Marie Taglioni was at the top of career – she retired later that year.

Portrait of Marie Taglioni with lapdog. 1842. Edwin Dalton Smith (U.K., 1800-1866)

Read more about Marie Taglioni’s life and about the history of Romantic Ballet at the blogs and links below. It’s a window to the past:


A Tale of the Queen of Navarre

Diaries are different. They are kept to document memories in real time. They are not like letters. Letters are written to let someone know what you have experienced. Diaries are for yourself; letters are for other people.

The interior of Gustav IIIs Opera House

When I read Augusta’s diary, I am sometimes surprised at what she doesn’t describe or discuss. On 10 March 1851, she went to the Royal Theatre (housed in Gustaf IIIs Opera House) in Stockholm and saw a play. She didn’t write anything about the performance; of more importance was the fact that a count escorted her home.

Stockholm, March 1851

”Since Saturday evening I am here in Stockholm, our Swedish Paris, the dance-hungry’s Eldorado.” 

”Monday morning I went to visit Ribbingens and Bohemans. They were overly astonished to see me so unexpectedly in the Capital City, and in the evening we saw the great opera, “A Tale of the Queen of Navarre.” There I met Count Figge Schwerin, who escorted me home and was quite himself, much disposed to let his lady alone carry on the conversation and himself look like he was sleepwalking.”

So what could I find out about the performance she saw?

It took me less than an hour to get some tidbits about it!


The Poster for the Play

I first searched the Swedish Royal Opera’s archives. They have all performances listed back to 1773. All I had to do was to search on the date Augusta visited the theatre. There it was: “A tale of the Queen of Navarre – A Comedy in 5 Acts”. I found that the opening night was the 3 March and they gave 7 performances. The poster for the play showed the actors and the prices for the tickets.

Augusta was 23 years old. If I were to pick one actor that she could have written about, who would it be? The roles in this play included:

Males: King of Spain, King of France, Spanish Minister, French Count, and 3 Not-So-Important Guys.

Females: Sister of the King of Spain, Sister of the King of France, and the Fiancé of the King of Spain.

I am sure all the kings and the count would have been fascinating, but the fiancé of the King – Isabelle of Portugal – would probably be the one a 23-year-old would have found most interesting.

So I picked her.

King Charles XV

The role was played by a Mademoiselle Jacobson. She was the only young, unmarried woman in the play. Who was she?

Elise Jacobson has a whole Wikipedia page under the name Elise Hwasser. In short, she was 20 years old when she played the role of the royal fiancé. She was not yet famous but she was part of the circles of the Swedish Crown Prince Charles (later King Charles XV), and rumored to have had a short affair with him.

Daniel Hwasser

Another friend of the Crown Prince was Daniel Hwasser. They had become friends as students in Uppsala. Daniel was a great tenor. Their friendship resulted in Daniel getting a position as director of the Royal Theatre. It is rumored that the Crown Prince advised Elise to marry Daniel. Regardless, Daniel and Elise married in 1858. She became one of the leading female actresses in Stockholm and had a life-long career. She and her husband spent their summers at Ulriksdal where they socialized with the Royal Family.

Elise Hwasser (1831-1894)


Of course, when Augusta saw the play, Elise was not yet famous and maybe she was not interesting enough to write about. On the other hand, Count Figge Schwerin, who accompanied Augusta home from the theater, might have been very interesting. Unfortunately, we still don’t know who he was. One possible candidate is Fredrik Bogislaus (Fritz) von Schwerin, who was born 18 July 1825 in Norrköping and, according to the census records, was residing in Stockholm.

Stockholm, March 12, 1851

Contemporary watercolor of Stockholm by Fritz von Dardel

Since Saturday evening I am here in Stockholm, our Swedish Paris, the dance-hungry’s Eldorado. Our journey here was miserable; unfavorable road conditions for the sleigh and grey, chilly weather. We ate bad food and slept miserably in cold, unpleasant lodgings, chatted with drunk coachmen, drank mulled wine, and finally arrived frozen and exhausted to our nice and beautiful Stockholm where we took in at Hotel Norrköping on Stora Nygatan. The day after our arrival, we waded through deep dirt to get to our friends on Kungsholmen where we became heartily received, had a pleasant evening, and dreamed us back to winter evenings at Krusenhof.

The view of Riddarholmen and the Old Town as seen from Kungsholmen. Augusta would have walked across the bridge; however, it was still March, so the lakes would have been frozen and the trees would have been bare.

Tante and Nanna have a small, sunny, and agreeable dwelling in the midst of a garden that extends right down to the lakeshore. In the summer, this little place might be a real paradise with flowers and light, fresh air and the view of Lake Mälaren’s blue surface, lush islands, and beaches to soothe the eyes, and glorious views of Riddarholmen and Södermalm and all the steamers that from different directions are rushing to their common goal at Riddarholmen’s quay.

Monday morning I went to visit Ribbingens and Bohemans. They were overly astonished to see me so unexpectedly in the capital city, and in the evening we saw the great opera, ”A Tale of the Queen of Navarre.” There I met Count Figge Schwerin who escorted me home and was quite himself, much disposed to let his lady alone carry on the conversation and himself look like he was sleepwalking.

Mother and I were visiting Ribbingens today where, marvelously, Baron Fredrik happened to keep company and was as decent and agreeable as he can be when he wants to. We departed early, for I had a premonition that Lieutenant Wahlfelt could get the idea to transport his insipid personality to Clara {where Ribbingens lived}, which definitely would not have been pleasant.

We have left Lejdenfrost in the care of Wallenberg and we now traverse to the island of the poppy-crowned god.


The family that Augusta visited at Kungsholmen was the family Hjort. The family had been Augusta’s closest neighbor and the children her best friends throughout childhood. In 1850, the family sold their estate, Krusenhof, and moved to Kungsholmen in Stockholm. The family members were Major Georg Leonard Hjort and his wife, Fredrika Elisabet Älf (referred to as Tante), and their children Aurora, Johanna (Nanna), Axel, and Erik.

Count Figge Schwerin is likely Fredrik Bogislaus (Fritz) von Schwerin who was born in Norrköping in 1825 (close in age to Augusta and from the same town). He was a captain in the army. Later in life, he became a banker, married, and had 2 daughters.

The family Ribbing and Boheman were good friends of the family.

Lejdenfrost was Augusta’s brother-in-law and benefactor.

The island of the poppy-crowned god is a poetic term for sleep – may be alluding to the effect of opium.

Princess Lovisa arrives in Stockholm 15 June 1850


“In February 1850, I returned to Stockholm in the company of Mother and Lejdenfrost.

 I was forbidden to dance, and when I did not spend my evenings with Ekström or the Bohemans, which was often the case, one could be sure to find me at some concert at de la Croix Salon or in a lodge at the Grand Opera House.

In the spring, the Bohemans came down to the Kirsteinska Garden in the afternoons with their work. I was usually the lecturer, but often we were interrupted during our lectures by the Royal Secretaries Seippel and Strokirk, nicknamed The Inseparables. We then passed the evenings quite merrily in conversation and laughter.

 After having been completely drenched at Biskopsudden on the 15th of June and viewed all the finery at the engagement ceremonies, I accompanied the Bohemans and Hildegard to the steamer Linköping on a chilly, rainy morning on which they departed for Anneberg. I took a sad farewell of them and, afterwards, prepared myself for my own departure from the capital.”


The engagement and subsequent marriage of Crown Prince Charles (the future King Charles XV) and Princess Louise (Lovisa) of the Netherlands must have been the social event of the year. Princess Louise and her family arrived at Biskopsudden in Stockholm by the steamship Gefle on 15 June 1850. The major newspaper, Post- och Inrikes Tidningar, reported that even before noon, a large number of Stockholm’s inhabitants had gone to the landing site and to other areas through which the royal highness would pass on her way to Haga Palace.

And among those was Augusta. Yet, in the diary, there is only one sentence about the occasion, and it only describes how she got drenched and no other details. There is not even a mention of the 12-carriage cortège making its way to Haga. Nothing about the sounds of canons and of people cheering. How did she get to Biskopsudden, who accompanied her, and how was she dressed for the occasion?

Fortunately, there were 3 lithographs made of the occasion: the arrival of the princess (the feature picture above), the cortège with the prince riding next to the carriage with the princess, and the arrival of the princess at the royal palace in Stockholm for the wedding on 19 June 1850 (all by A. Weidel).

The Royal Family’s cortège from Biskopsudden to Haga the 15th of June 1850 (Lithograph by A. Weidel)
Karl XV and Lovisa’s arrival at the Royal Palace the 19th of June 1850 (Lithograph by A. Weidel)










Footnotes and Sources
Ekström and Bohemans:
Carl Henrik Boheman (1796-1868) was a Swedish professor of entomology. He had five children (age in 1850): Hildegard (24), Hildur Linnea (21), Carl Hjalmar (16), Ernst Henrik Georg (14), and Carl Rudolf Helmer (3). The family resided in Adolf Fredrik’s parish but also had an estate, Anneberg, located in Gränna community and on the northeast shore of Lake Ören. The estate is still in the family.

In 1850, Hildegard Boheman was already married to Carl Henrik Rudolf Ekström who later became a province governor. By the time of this diary entry, they had 3 children: Carl Henric Hjalmar (b. 12 Oct 1847), Anna Karolina Amelie (b. 16 Oct 1848), and Hildegard Sofia Christina (b. 14 Dec 1849).

Kirsteinska Garden (Kirsteinska Trädgården):
The garden was located in front of what is now the Central Train Station in Stockholm. It was popular among young people and provided outdoor concerts and other events.

Seippel and Strokirk:
Augusta misspelled Seippel as Zeipel in her diaries. In published records, Seipel (with one p) is also used although the correct spelling was Seippel. Otto Wilhelm Seippel (1820-1899) was 29 years old at time of the diary entry. He later had the title of ”kansliråd” and married Christina Maria Svensson. One son, Otto Bernhard Seippel (born 04 June 1854) , is listed in the taxation records.

Wilhelm Theodor Strokirk (1823-1895) was 27 years old in 1850. He appears in several places in Augusta’s diary as does his future father-in-law.