Carolina Kuhlman

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Carolina Kuhlman
Born Carolina Ottilia Kuhlman
Died 12 April 1866 (aged 87–88)
Other names Carolina Deland and Carolina Åbergsson
Spouse(s) Louis Deland (first spouse) and Gustav Åbergsson (second spouse)

Ottilia Carolina Kuhlman, also Carolina Deland and Carolina Åbergsson, (1778 – 12 April 1866), was a Swedish actress, the leading lady on the Swedish stage during the Napoleon era in the first two decades of the 19th century.


Carolina Kuhlman was educated in singing at the royal theaters from 1791, and was 1793 accepted at Dramatens elevskola under the care of Anne Marie Milan Desguillons; as such, she was from this year forward active as a student-actor at the Royal Dramatic Theater, and was in 1800 made premier actress, a position she kept until 1833, only temporary interrupted in 1820–1823, when she was active in Gothenburg, were her husband was then director. In 1829–1833, she was vice principal and instructor in declamation in Dramatens elevskola.

She played mistress- and heroine parts and later mother-parts, and was admired for her realism, her grace and her well-balansed mimic. The papers generally gave her very good critic.

Carolina Kuhlman married the dancer Louis Deland in 1799, but they divorced in 1802, and her divorce seems to have had a certain social effect; though divorces was formally allowed in Sweden, they had been very unusual. After this celebrated actress divorced, however, they became quite common, and accepted, among actors, and her way of handling her private status after the divorce also became a trend; they were some unceirtanty which name a woman should use after a divorce, and if she should call herself "miss" or "Mrs". Carolina took her original name Kuhlman back after her divorce, but continued to call herself Mrs, and used the name "Mrs Kuhlman". This set an example followed by divorced women, and several of her female colleagues in the 19th century, such as Charlotta Eriksson and Elisabeth Frösslind, did the same after their divorces.

She remarried the celebrated actor Gustav Åbergsson, "The Hamlet of Stockholm", (brother of Inga Åberg) in 1815, also a popular actor, leading interpretator of hero- and lover-parts and famed for his beauty. Carolina and Gustav had a relationship for years before they were married. In 1811, Skjöldenbland reported, that Gustav Åbergsson had gone on a study trip to Paris with her; "An actor of the higher comedy, mr Åbergsson, had in the company of his mistress, an excellent actress in her own right, who were later to become his wife, went to Paris to develop himself in his profession." At his return, he brought the play Cendrillon, and demanded that the main part be given to her.

In 1819, she and her husband played the leading parts in Romeo and Juliet, the first time this play was performed in Stockholm, though it had been performed in Norrköping already in 1776. The year after, Gustav Åbergsson was made director of the theater of Gothenburg, were they remained for three years. When they returned to Stockholm and the Royal Dramatic Theater in 1823, she retook a respected place in this theatre, no in mother-parts; she was made instructor at Dramatens elevskola, and when Åbergsson was appointed principal of this school, she was made vice principal. The both retired in 1833–1834.


Her most known parts was Emma in Korsfararne (The Crusaders) by Koetzebue, Hildegard in Joahnna av Montfaucon by Kotzebue, Cherubin in The marriage of Figaro, the deaf and mute boy Jules in Abbe del'Épée by Bouilly, Mrs Dorsan in Den ondsinta hustrun, (The Evil Wife) Elvira in Tartuffe. She played Ophelia in Hamlet with her own husband in 1819; this was the first time this play had been performed in Stockholm. She played "a French woman " in Karavanen (The Caravane) by Gretry and Wilhelm in Musikvurmen (Music Craze) by Grenier (season 1796–97), Isabella in Den talande tavlan (The speaking painting) by Gretry (1798–99), Zemire in Panurge på lanterneön (Panurge on the lantern island) by Gretry and Cecile in Hemligheten (The Secret) by Solié (1799–1800), Alexandrine in En fjärdedels timmes tystnad (A quarter of an hour's silence) (1809–10), Regina in De löjliga möterna (Redicoulous encounters) by Isouard (1813–14), Madame Durandiére in Världshuset i Bagniéres (The Inn at Bagnieres) (1817–18) and Barbara in Oxmenuetten (The Ox-menuette) by Haydn (1825–26).


  • (Swedish)
  • Österberg, Carin et al., Svenska kvinnor: föregångare, nyskapare (Swedish women; Predecessors, pioneers). Lund: Signum 1990. (ISBN 91-87896-03-6) (Swedish)
  • Kungliga teaterns repertoar 1773–1973 (The Repertoire of the royal theatre 1773–1973) 1974 (Swedish)
  • Georg Nordensvan: Svensk teater och svenska skådespelare från Gustav III till våra dagar. Första bandet 1772–1842 (Swedish theatre and Swedish actors from the days of Gustav III to our days. First book 1772–1842) (Swedish)
  • (Swedish)