Christine Daaé

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Christine Daaé
The Phantom of the Opera character
Christine Daaé (Mary Philbin) in the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera, alongside Erik, The Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney).
Created by Gaston Leroux
Occupation Singer
Family Madame Valérius (adoptive mother)
Gustave Daaé (father, deceased)
Spouse(s) Viscount Raoul de Chagny
Significant other(s) Erik (The Phantom of the Opera)
Nationality Swedish

Christine Daaé is a fictional character and the female protagonist of Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and of the various adaptations of the work. Erik, the Phantom of the Opera falls in love with her.

Character history[edit]


Christine Daaé was born in a town near Uppsala, Sweden. Her mother died when she was six. Raised by her father, they constantly traveled to fairs where he played the violin and she sang. They were discovered at one of these fairs by Professor Valérius, who took them to Gothenburg and then to Paris, providing for Christine's education.

Christine was extremely close to her father, who told her Scandinavian fairy-tales; the tale of the "Angel of Music" was her favorite. Christine entered the Paris Conservatoire and trained for four years to become an opera singer to please her father and Mamma Valérius, the bedridden wife of the late Professor. However, by the end of the four years, she had lost her passion for singing.

When Christine arrives at the Opéra Garnier, she was described as "sounding like a rusty hinge", but one person found the beauty hidden in her voice. When Erik, the Phantom of the Opera began to tutor her, he told her that he is the "Angel of Music" of whom her father had spoken. She believed him, and he inspired her soul back into her voice. Christine debuted at a gala at the opera in place of the singer Carlotta, who had fallen ill. Christine's singing was described as "seraphic".

Christine became torn between her loyalty for her mentor, Erik, and her love for her childhood friend Viscount Raoul de Chagny.

In the Lofficier translation of the novel, Christine's age is given as 15 years old. However, this is a mistranslation of a passage that says her heart was "as pure as that of a 15 year old". The evidence of Christine's childhood friendship with Raoul, and her studies at the Paris Conservatoire, put her age at 20.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera[edit]

Christine is a chorus girl, who becomes the object of obsession, passion and love for the mysterious Phantom of the Opera. He becomes her mentor, and with his help, she is chosen to replace the company's prima donna, Carlotta. When she falls in love with her childhood sweetheart, Raoul, the Phantom kidnaps Christine in a jealous rage and drags her down to his lair. She is forced to choose between the Phantom and Raoul, but her compassion for the Phantom moves him to free them both and allow them to flee.

2004 Film[edit]

The film version of the musical follows the musical's script closely, but Christine's age is reduced. Her gravemark says that she was born in 1854, and the beginning the movie shows the setting as 1870, so that makes her 15 or 16 years old.

Father's name[edit]

In the novel, Christine's loving father is named Daddy Daaé. In the musical, he is called Gustave, and in Sarah Brightman's music video version of "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again", his name is Charles.


Several researchers claim the character Christine Daaé was based upon the real-life Swedish-born opera star Christina Nilsson, also known as Kristina Nilsson or Christine Nilsson.[1][2][3][4][5] This claim is unverified by any official source, but it is supported by several biographical similarities between Nilsson and Daaé. The most obvious is that Nilsson, like Daaé, was born in Sweden and trained in Paris.


The first actress to portray Christine Daaé was Aud Egede-Nissen in the 1916 German silent version by Ernst Matray, Das Gespenst im Opernhaus or Das Phantom der Oper.


  1. ^ Jussi Björling Museum: Four Great Nordic Singers
  2. ^ NYSL Library Notes: Status: In Cataloging (1 October 2008)
  3. ^ Linton, Elizabeth Lynn. The Rebel of the Family p. 362, ISBN 1-55111-293-0
  4. ^ Hollingsworth, Amy Gifts of Passage: What the Dying Tell Us with the Gifts They Leave Behind p. 38, ISBN 0-8499-1920-7
  5. ^ Eriksson, Lill. Förtrollad av Fantomen för snart 100:e gången (Swedish)
  6. ^ Program book for the Vienna Production of Phantom of the Opera (November, 1990 / 2. Publication October, 1991) Programmbuch zur Aufführung des Musicals Das Phantom der Oper
  7. ^ "Broadway's Phantom of the Opera Announces First Asian-American Christine | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 

External links[edit]