Deutekom was born in Amsterdam as Christine (Stientje) Engel. After some smaller roles, her breakthrough came in 1963, portraying the Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Dutch National Opera. She then sang the same role at all major European opera houses and also at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1968. In 1974 she opened the Met season as Elena in I vespri siciliani alongside Plácido Domingo.
Besides the Queen of the Night, her Mozart roles included Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito. She sang the great bel canto roles, specifically in Rossini's Armida, in Bellini's Norma and I puritani, and in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.
She went on to the great dramatic Verdi roles including Abigaile in Nabucco, Lady Macbeth, Leonora in Il trovatore, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, and Elena in I vespri siciliani. Other roles which were captured in commercial recordings include Giselda in I Lombardi and Odabella in Attila. Finally, she sang the title role in Puccini's Turandot.
She made a return in November 1996 at the Concertgebouw Operafeest, at the age of 65 singing the Bolero from I vespri siciliani and Anna Elisa's aria Liebe, du Himmel auf Erden from the operetta Paganini, reportedly "bringing the house down". As of 2001, she was a guest teacher at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, but after suffering a stroke in 2004, she retired from public life.
Additional operatic repertoire
She married Jaap Deutekom, a boxer, in 1952 and they had a daughter, Irma Deutekom, in 1955.