Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Nilsson, Christine

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NILSSON, Christine, singer, b. near Wexiö, Sweden, 3 Aug., 1843. Her father, a small farmer, who possessed taste in music, was the chief chorister in the church of that district. From her earliest years Christine gave evidence of vocal talent. She taught herself to play on the violin and flute, and sang in the peasants' fairs in Sweden with her brother. At one of these festivals in Ljungby in June, 1857, she attracted the attention of a Swedish magistrate named Tornërhjelm, who sent her to Halmstad and Stockholm, where she remained for two years as a pupil of Franz Berwald. After studying in Paris for three years she made her debut there as Violetta in “La Traviata” on 24 Oct., 1864. In 1867 she appeared in London in both opera and oratorio, and in 1868 she sang at the Grand opera-house in Paris, where she made a sensation as Ophelia in Ambroise Thomas's “Hamlet.” In that year she sang in the Crystal palace, London, at the Handel festival. She first appeared in the United States in 1870 in concerts, and in 1871 sang in opera with great success. She re-appeared in London in 1872 and married there Auguste Rouzaud, a broker of Paris, who died in 1882. In 1873 she sang with great success in St. Petersburg, and from 1872 till 1877 she appeared every season in Italian opera in London. She visited this country again in 1873-'4 and in 1882, and made a tour in Scandinavia in 1876. Her last appearance in New York was on 16 April, 1883. In 1886 she married Count Casa di Miranda. Her voice is of moderate power, but possesses remarkable purity of intonation, sweetness, brilliancy, and evenness in its entire register. Its compass is nearly three octaves. Her most successful characters are Elsa, Marguerite, and Mignon.