Florence Foster Jenkins was one of the world's greatest opera singers - by her own reckoning, at any rate! She began her musical career as Little Miss Foster, and gave a piano recital for President Hayes before she even hit puberty. But, sadly, it just wasn't to be. When her father refused to let her study music she eloped with an older man who infected her with syphilis on her wedding night, and when she left him to support herself through piano tuition she injured her arm and had to move back in with her mother.
Things finally began to look up in 1909; her father died, leaving her a substantial sum of money, and she met the love of her life, St. Clair Bayfield, a mediocre Shakesperean actor played by Hugh Grant in the movie. Bayfield encouraged Florence to live her dreams when it came to music, becoming her manager, and supporting her in singing lessons. Lady Florence, as she liked to be known, became a fixture of wealthy New York society, helped along by her generous patronage of the musical arts and her lavish tableaux vivants. From 1912, already in her 40s, Florence began giving recitals - much to the astonishment of her audience.