Christine Daaé

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 and Viscount Raoul de Chagny both fall in love with her.

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).
First appearanceThe Phantom of the Opera (1909)
Created byGaston Leroux
In-universe information
FamilyMadame Valérius (adoptive mother)
Gustave Daaé (father, deceased)
SpouseViscount Raoul de Chagny
Significant otherViscount Raoul de Chagny

Character historyEdit


Christine Daaé was born in a town near Uppsala, Sweden. Her mother died when she was six years old. Raised by her father, they travelled through rural Sweden, wandering from fair to fair,[1] 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.

Das Phantom der Oper, Dt. EA 1912, Albert Langen, München

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 and the music.

When Christine arrived 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 was the "Angel of Music" of whom her father had spoken. She believed him, and he inspired her soul back into her voice. Having been singing small roles with the Opera for some months without making much impression on audiences, Christine had a spectacular success 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 and sympathy 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 years old.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the OperaEdit

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. In the original West End and Broadway productions, she was portrayed by Sarah Brightman.

2004 filmEdit

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 of the movie shows the setting as 1870, making her about 16 years old when the events of the movie take place.

Father's nameEdit

In the novel and the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, we never learn Christine's father's first name. In the novel, he is simply referred to as "Daddy" or "Daddy Daaé.” In the 2004 movie, he is called Gustave, and in Sarah Brightman's music video version of "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again", his name is Charles.


The novel has been adapted several times. The first film iteration was produced in Germany in 1915, with Nils Chrisander (1884–1947) as the Phantom and Aud Egede-Nissen (1893–1974) as Christine. Many critics consider the film of 1925 by Carl Laemmle's Universal Pictures as the most successful. The role of the Phantom played here by Lon Chaney. The same studio tried in 1943 with a sound film of Arthur Lubin to follow this success. The film used to a large extent the still existing scenes of the silent film. Claude Rains played the phantom.

In 1960, a Spanish society turned a very free adaptation of the subject under the title El Fantasma de la Operetta . In 1962, British production company Hammer Films focused on the horror genre.

Another adaptation was produced in 1974 by 20th Century Fox, who moved the event to New York and significantly altered the story to be more Faustian. This film was released as Phantom of the Paradise, with Jessica Harper in the Christine-esque role of Phoenix, and William Finley as the eponymous Phantom.

The 1989 version, Jill Schoelen played Christine opposite Robert Englund in the title role.

In 1998, Italian horror film director Dario Argento cast his daughter Asia Argento as Christine.

Most recently, in 2004, Joel Schumacher produced a film version inspired by the musical of Andrew Lloyd Webber. This iteration starred Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum as the Phantom and Christine. Originally, there was already a filming based on the musical in the early 1990s, with the main actors of the premiere: Michael Crawford as the phantom and Sarah Brightman as Christine. Brightman was married to Lloyd Webber at the time, but shortly before the planned pre-production the marriage was dissolved and the filming was cancelled.

Popular moviesEdit

Year Title Genre Original Title Director Christine Daaé Title role
1915 The Phantom of the Opera Silent drama The Phantom of the Opera Ernst Matray Aud Egede-Nissen Nils Chrisander
1925 The Phantom of the Opera Horror The Phantom of the Opera Rupert Julian Mary Philbin Lon Chaney sen.
1937 Ye ban ge sheng Horror Ye ban ge sheng Ma-Xu Weibang Hu Ping Gu Menghe
1943 Phantom of the Opera Horror, music Phantom of the Opera Arthur Lubin Susanna Foster Claude Rains
1962 The Riddle of the Eerie Mask Horror The Phantom of the Opera Terence Fisher Heather Sears Herbert Lom
1983 The Phantom of Budapest Horror Phantom of the Opera Robert Markowitz Jane Seymour Maximilian Schell
1987 The Phantom of the Opera Horror Animation The Phantom of the Opera Al Guest, Jean Mathieson Collette Proctor Aiden Grennell
1989 The Phantom of the Opera Horror Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera Dwight H. Little Jill Schoelen Robert Englund
1990 The Phantom of the Opera Drama Miniseries Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera Tony Richardson Teri Polo Charles Dance
1998 The Phantom of the Opera Horror Il Fantasma dell'opera Dario Argento Asia Argento Julian Sands
2004 The Phantom of the Opera Musical The Phantom of the Opera Joel Schumacher Emmy Rossum Gerard Butler

Loose AdaptationsEdit

year title original title Director title role
1974 The Phantom of Hollywood The Phantom of Hollywood Gene Levitt Jack Cassidy
1974 Phantom of the Paradise Phantom of the Paradise Brian De Palma William Finley
1989 Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge Richard Friedman Derek Rydall
1989 Phantom of the Ritz Phantom of the Ritz Allen Plone Joshua Sussman


Towards the end of his life, Leroux claimed the character was based on a real opera singer "whose real name I hid under that of Christine Daaé".[2] It is likely he was referring to the Swedish singer Christina Nilsson (1843-1921) (sometimes known as "Christine Nilsson"),[3] whose real life heavily reflects details in the fictitious Christine Daaé's history.[4][5] Nilsson, like the fictional Daaé, was born in rural Sweden, and both were discovered by a well-to-do patron performing in a Swedish marketplace: Nilsson singing along to her brother's violin playing in Ljungby, Daaé singing along to her father's violin playing in (fictitious) Ljimby. Both were taken under the protection of a family named "Valerius" in Gothenburg, and both were brought to Paris by their respective patrons for operatic training.[6][7][8] Even the rivalry between the youthful and inexperienced Christine Daaé and the seasoned veteran diva Mme Carlotta, and specifically the replacement of Carlotta with Daaé in the role of Marguerite in Gounod's Faust, loosely reflects the public competition between Christina Nilsson and the older Caroline Miolan-Carvalho over the role at the Paris Opera in 1868-1869,[9][10] even to the point of using ideas and language from contemporary reviews of Nilsson's performances.[11][12]


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.

Edyta Krzemień as Christine Daaé
  • Sarah Brightman debuted the role in the 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
  • Patti Cohenour debuted the role in the 1986 Broadway production, alternating with Sarah Brightman. Cohenour was thus the first American Christine and went on to reprise the role for the First Canadian National Tour.
  • Glory Crampton originated the role in the much revived Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit 1990 musical Phantom.
  • Jill Schoelen played Christine Day in Dwight H. Little's 1989 film version.
  • Rebecca Caine debuted the role in the Canadian production (1989) and featured on the Canadian Cast album.
  • Teri Polo took the role in the 1990 television miniseries version.
  • American Janet Marie Chvatal performed the role in 1991–1992 in the German version of Das Phantom der Oper in Vienna, Austria.[13]
  • Asia Argento played her in the 1998 film.
  • Claudia Cota played her twice in The Phantom of the Opera (musical 2000) by Morris Gilbert in Mexico and Player her on Phantom of the Opera (musical 2009) in Argentina by Harold Prince.
  • Emmy Rossum played her in the 2004 film version of the Lloyd Webber musical.
  • Sierra Boggess first played Christine in the 2006 version of the Lloyd Webber musical, Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular. In 2010 she originated the role in Lloyd Webber's sequel, Love Never Dies. She next played Christine in the 25th Anniversary concert, The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, in 2011, on Broadway in 2013 and 2014, and in Paris to celebrate the show's 30th anniversary in 2016.
  • Samantha Hill served as alternate for the role during Boggess' tenure, and took over the lead on Broadway from 2012 to 2013.
  • Kimilee Bryant played the role in the Lloyd Webber musical on Broadway (1994–95; 1998; 2009–2012 occasionally) and in the Swiss (in German; 1995–96), U.S. National Tour (1996–98) and Toronto (1999) productions.
  • Gina Beck played the role in the Lloyd Webber musical in London.
  • Sofia Escobar played the role of Christine Daaé, in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, from 2010 to 2013.
  • Jennifer Hope Wills played Christine in the Lloyd Webber musical on Broadway and on a Canadian tour of the musical.
  • Julia Udine played Christine on Broadway in the Lloyd Webber musical from 2014 to 2016, after playing the role in the North American tour in 2013–2014.
  • Ali Ewoldt played Christine on Broadway in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical from 2016 to November 2018. She is the first Asian-American actress to be cast in the lead role.[14]
  • Kaley Ann Voorhees played Christine in the Lloyd Webber musical on Broadway from November 2018 to October 2019.
  • Meghan Picerno played Christine in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway from October 2019 to January 2022.[15]
  • Kelly Mathieson played Christine at the original theatre, Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End in 2019.[16]
  • Holly-Anne Hull played Christine on the UK and Ireland tour 2020 for a mere 13 performances before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the tour. She is transferring to the West End in Her Majesty's Theatre as the alternate Christine with performances commencing from 27 July 2021.
  • Lucy St Louis began playing Christine in Her Majesty's Theatre with performances commencing from 27 July 2021.
  • Emilie Kouatchou is currently Christine on Broadway. She is the first Black actress to be cast in the role, with her first performance taking place on October 27, 2021.[17]


  1. ^ Conrad, Joseph; Lawrence, D. H.; Eliot, George; Tolstoy, Leo; Joyce, James; Dickens, Charles; Austen, Jane; Stoker, Bram; Wilde, Oscar; Classics, Golden Deer (15 April 2017). 50 Classics you have to read before you die Vol: 1 (Gold Edition) (Golden Deer Classics) [Included audiobooks link + Active toc]. ISBN 9782377870462.
  2. ^ The Phantom of the Opera. OUP Oxford. 8 March 2012. ISBN 978-0-19-969457-0.
  3. ^ "Nilsson, Christine (1843–1921) |".
  4. ^ Gifts of Passage: What the Dying Tell Us with the Gifts They Leave Behind. Thomas Nelson. 31 August 2009. ISBN 9781418576165.
  5. ^ The Phantom of the Opera. OUP Oxford. 8 March 2012. ISBN 978-0-19-969457-0.
  6. ^ The Phantom of the Opera. OUP Oxford. 8 March 2012. ISBN 978-0-19-969457-0.
  7. ^ The Ladies' Treasury and Treasury of Literature. 1870.
  8. ^ In Nilsson's case, the singer and teacher Adelaïde Valerius, Baronne Leuhusen and her sister the artist Bertha Valerius. [1]
  9. ^ Paris and the Musical: The City of Light on Stage and Screen. Routledge. 17 March 2021. ISBN 9780429878626.
  10. ^ The Phantom of the Opera. OUP Oxford. 8 March 2012. ISBN 978-0-19-969457-0.
  11. ^ Opera in the Novel from Balzac to Proust. Cambridge University Press. 31 March 2011. ISBN 9781139495851.
  12. ^ Leroux was liberal in adapting the Nilsson-Carvalho rivalry. Although in 1868-69 Nilsson was younger and less experienced than Miolan-Carvalho (for whom the role of Marguerite had been written ten years earlier), she was already a well-known operatic star in Paris. As for the production run of Faust, it was in reality an awkward experience for Nilsson, who received mixed reviews. [2]
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ "Broadway's Phantom of the Opera Announces First Asian-American Christine | Playbill". Playbill. 26 May 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  15. ^[bare URL]
  16. ^ "Jonathan Roxmouth, Meghan Picerno Lead THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Asian Tour in Manila; Full Cast Announced".
  17. ^ "Emilie Kouatchou Makes History as the First Black Woman to Star in 'The Phantom of the Opera' on Broadway".

External linksEdit