The Christina Nilsson story

6 11 2020

A Rags to Riches Story – Christina Nilsson

“A Rags to Riches story” was the headline of SAHSWI member Carol Gustafson presentation at the only social meeting of the Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin in 2020. Carol, who is the great, great niece, presented the life of Christina Nilsson, the famous Swedish opera singer, who sang at the opening night of the New York Met in 1883, and was very popular in USA, Russia, UK, France, and Sweden. It is a story about a poor girl from a small village in Sweden who became famous worldwide.

Carol talked about her family ties to Christina and her recent trip to Christina’s homestead, now a museum in Sweden as well as her visit to the mansion Villa Vik and mausoleum in Växjö. Carol showed pictures of Christina including an illustration of her wedding with the French banker Auguste Rauzaud, and and another with her second husband, Angel Ramon Maria Vallejo y Miranda, Count de Casa Miranda.

At the meeting Carol and Mary Stetson, artistic name “Goda Vänner”, performed Christina’s signature Swedish Folk song: “Fjorton ar tror jag visst att jag var” translated “I think for sure, I was fourteen years old”.

This song is performed on YouTube by Mia Marianne and Per Filip.

Christina Nilsson in Kyrkhult

The extra ordinary life of Christina Nilsson and her genuine personality is illustrated in an article from Kyrkhult “Hembygdsförening” a local historical Society of Kyrkhult. Author Olof Jönsson’s article from their annual publication 1984, Vår Hembygd, is translated and provided here: (Kyrkhult is located in Blekinge, in the south of Sweden.)

Christina Nilsson Biography (Reference Wikipedia)

Christina Nilsson, Countess de Casa Miranda, (20 August 1843 – 20 November 1921) was a Swedish operatic soprano. Nilsson became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1869.

Christina Nilsson was born Kristina Jonasdotter on Sjöabol farm, near VäxjöSmåland, to the peasants Jonas Nilsson and Cajsa-Stina Månsdotter. From her earliest years, she demonstrated vocal talent.[1] 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. Pandora by Alexandre Cabanel, 1873. Nilsson was the model for this painting.

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.[1] After this success she sang at major opera houses in LondonSaint PetersburgVienna and New York City. She also appeared in the Metropolitan Opera‘s inaugural performance on 22 October 1883 in Gounod‘s Faust. In September 1885 she was contemplating retiring from the spotlight, and held a farewell concert from the balcony of Grand Hotel in Stockholm. An estimated 50 000 people gathered to hear the world-famous soprano. Suddenly a rumour spread that the scaffolding on a nearby building was falling down, and panic spread in the crowd. 19 people were killed in the chaos that followed, and the dead bodies and all the injured were brought to the hotel lobby, where a horrified Nilsson met them. The Stockholm police were criticized for the way they handled the event, and Nilsson never got over the accident. She donated generously to the families of the victims.

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.[1] 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 Vaxjö, Sweden, in 1921. Unlike Patti, she never made gramophone recordings of her voice.


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6 11 2020
bfroemm

Very nice, Jan.

Barbara

Sent from my iPhone

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