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Charles Reutlinger 
Christine Nilsson, soprano (Paris Exposition) 
1867 (ca) 
Carte de visite 
Private collection of T. Max Hochstetler 
Christine Nilsson (20 August, 1843 - 20 November, 1921)
She was born Kristina Jonasdotter 20 August, 1843 in the village of Sjoabol, Smalandia, Sweden to peasant family. She was discovered by a prominent civil service worker at the age of fourteen playing a violin at a market in Ljungby. He became her patron and enabled her to have vocal training. In 1860, she gave concerts in Stockholm and Uppsala. After four years operatic training in Paris, she had debut, in 1864, playing role of Violetta in Giuseppe Verdi's opera "La Traviata" at Theatre Lyrique. Success in London the same year singing roles in "La Traviata," "Hamlet," "Marriage of Figaro," and "Faust" opened doors to major opera houses in St. Petersburg, Vienna, and New York. She sang at the Metropolitan in 1883 for the opening performance as Marguerite in "Faust." Nilsson voice ranged two and a half octaves and was considered not large but pure and flexible. Her first marriage to French banker, Auguste Rouzaud ended with his death in 1882. In 1887, she married Angel Ramon Maria Vallejo y Miranda, Count de Casa Miranda. For much of her life she was known as the "Countess of Casa Miranda." There are similarities between Nilsson and the heroine, Christine Daae, in Gaston Leroux's novel, "Phantom of the Opera" and many believe Leroux based the character off the real-life opera singer. She died in Stockholm on 20 November, 1921.
(Kindly contributed by T. Max Hochstetler, June 2007) 

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