The Biography of Christine Daaé

Christine Daaé was born in Skotelhof, Sweden, on 18 January 1854 to Gustave Charles Daaé, a traveling folk musician and violinist and Anna Daaé, who died during childbirth. She spent much of her early life traveling around Sweden with her father, who raised her on the old folk tales of the country. In 1861 when Christine was only seven years old, Gustave died of Scarlet Fever at the age of 34. Her father knew Madame Giselle Antoinette Giry, the head of the corps de ballet at the recently built Opéra Populaire in Paris, and the child left Sweden for Paris two weeks later, and her father's corpse was buried near the opera house. She was adopted by the recently widowed Madame Giry and became best friends with Madame Giry's six year-old daughter, Megan. Three months after her arrival at the opera house, she was visited late at night by the Angel of Music, whom her father had promised to send to her upon his death. The voice of the Angel told her that she would one day be a great soprano and be the talk of all of Paris. Six years and many bedtime 'conversations' later, the voice told her to go to the spare dressing room. She did as instructed, and the singing lessons began for the thirteen year-old.

In 1870, the opera house manager Jean LeFevre put the opera house under the management of his successors, Giles André and Richard Firmin. They only had the job for three months. In that year the opera house also acquired a new patron to go along with the new management: Raoul, the then 20 year-old Viscount de Chagny. Christine had first met Raoul in the summer of 1862 on holiday in Breton with Madame and Megan Giry. The pair were reunited and fell in love. Christine finally got a chance to shine on the stage just as the Angel of Music had told her. And the rest is history...

After the events chronicled by Guy Leroux in The Phantom of the Opera, Christine and Raoul were married on 1 June 1872 at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Paris. He was 22; she was 18. The newlyweds settled down at the de Chagny estate just outside of Paris. Although an active member of Parisian society, Christine never sang in public again. She refused to be photographed out of paranoia and thus often commissioned portraits. On 7 September 1874, Christophe Gustave de Chagny was born. He never married and died of a stroke in 1922 at the age of 48. He was the Viscount de Chagny for two years when his father died in 1920 at the age of 70, and after Christophe's death his nephew Clément became the fourth Viscount de Chagny at the age of 22. On 12 July 1876 Clothilde Lotte de Chagny was born. She married Auguste Carte in 1896 and had a child Clément Raoul Cartes on 8 January 1900.

Christine, Viscountess de Chagny, died peacefully at home on 20 January 1917 at the age of 63. She only had one request of her husband upon her deathbed: she wanted him to retrieve an old music box from the vaults of the now decrepit Opéra Populaire. Even though it took two years, Raoul finally bought the music box at a public auction in 1919 for only 30 Francs. Upon his arrival at his beloved wife's grave, he found someone had been there first...and the rest is legend.

Bibliography:

Wolf, Leonard: "The Essential The Phantom of the Opera"

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