Christina Nilsson, Countess de Casa Miranda, (20 August 1843 - 20 November 1921) was a Swedish operatic soprano. She possessed a brilliant bel canto technique and was considered a rival to the Victorian era's most famous diva, Adelina Patti. Nilsson became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1869.
Christina Nilsson was born Kristina Jonasdotter in the village of Sjöabol, near Växjö, Småland, to the peasants Jonas Nilsson and Cajsa-Stina Månsdotter. From her earliest years, she demonstrated vocal talent. She taught herself to play on the violin and flute, and sang in the peasants' fairs in Sweden with her brother. She was discovered by a prominent civil servant when, aged 14, she was performing at a market in Ljungby. He soon became her patron, enabling her to have vocal training. She was a pupil of Franz Berwald for two years.
In 1860 she gave concerts in Stockholm and Uppsala. After four years' study in Paris, she had her operatic début 1864 as Violetta in Giuseppe Verdi's opera La Traviata at the Théâtre Lyrique, Paris. After this success she sang at major opera houses in London, Saint Petersburg, Vienna and New York. She also appeared in the Metropolitan Opera's inaugural performance on October 22, 1883 in Gounod's Faust.
Christina Nilsson was married in Westminster Abbey to the French banker Auguste Rouzaud, who later died in 1882. In 1887 she married Angel Ramon Maria Vallejo y Miranda, Count de Casa Miranda, who died in 1902. In correspondence, Nilsson often signed her first name as Christine, and during the last part of her life she was generally known as the Countess de Casa Miranda.
She died in Vaxjo, Sweden in 1921. Unfortunately, unlike Patti, she never made gramophone recordings of her voice.
|Nilsson was the model for Pandora by Alexandre Cabanel, 1873|
There are many similarities between Nilsson and the character of Christine Daaé in Gaston Leroux's novel Phantom of the Opera, and many believe Leroux based the character on the real-life opera singer, although evidence for this is unverified.