Claire Rutter is regarded as one of the finest sopranos in the world, with leading roles in houses including English National Opera, Sydney Opera House, Opéra National du Rhin, Dallas Opera and Santa Fe Opera, as well as appearances at exclusive summer festivals including Grange Park Opera.
"To catch a terrific, scalp-tingling Tosca, look no further than Claire Rutter at the Coliseum. Glorious of voice and subtle of acting, she's worth the price of the ticket alone" Metro
Following the huge success in previous roles in Tosca and Lucrezia Borgia, Claire was due to return to English National Opera with a new production of Rusalka in March 2020. Claire was due to star as the Foreign Princess in the production, which should have run from 22 March - 15 April with a tour to Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg, but was cancelled two days before it's opening night due to coronavirus.
Dvořák’s best-loved opera, Rusalka is inspired by Slavic myths and folk-tales about a water-nymph that chooses to become human to win her Prince, mirroring Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid.
Claire was also due to return to Icelandic Opera in May 2020, with the leading role of Sieglinde in Die Walküre. This opulent musical drama is one of the masterpieces of the 19th century, and the famous Ride of the Valkyries is well known to most music lovers. This would have been the first time The Valkyrie had been performed in its entirety in Iceland and the first time since 2002 that a full Wagner opera has been programmed.
Claire had busy 2018/19 seasons, with appearances as Tosca at Icelandic Opera and Welsh National Opera, Fidelia in Edgar at Scottish Opera, Abigaille in Nabucco for Dorset Opera and La Forza del Destino for Welsh National Opera and title roles in Vanessa for Wexford Festival Opera and La Fanciulla del West.
In July 2019 Claire appeared as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera at the newly completed Grange Park Opera theatre.
Other credits include L’Enfant Prodigue for Scottish Opera, the title role in La Gioconda for Malmö Opera, and Die Walküre for Grange Park Opera.
In 2011 she received huge critical acclaim for her appearance as Lucrezia Borgia at English National Opera (ENO), directed by multi-talented filmmaker Mike Figgis, which was also broadcast live in to cinemas and on Sky Arts (pictured below, alongside Michael Fabiano).
After then completing a successful run of Tosca at ENO, Claire took to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall in the title role of Aida in a Raymond Gubbay production, followed closely by a starring role in Madame Butterfly at the exclusive Grange Opera and a return to Finnish National Opera as Amelia in Un ballo in maschera.
Rutter studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at the National Opera Studio sponsored by The Friends of English National Opera. She was a principal with Scottish Opera for three years before securing her U.S. début as Fiordiligi (Cosi fan Tutte) for Dallas Opera, for which she was nominated for the Maria Callas Award.
Lead roles in world renowned houses across the world followed and Rutter is now firmly established as one of the UK’s most gifted and accomplished opera signers.
Credits include: Aida for Opera Australia in Sydney Opera House, Amelia (Un Ballo in Maschera) for Florida Grand Opera and Finnish National Opera; Aida, Tosca, Elvira (Ernani)and Amelia (Un Ballo in Maschera) for English National Opera, Alice Ford (Falstaff) in Santa Fe, Abigaille (Nabucco) for Opera North, Violetta (La Traviata) for Den Norske Opera, Oslo, Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) for Opéra National du Rhin, Opéra de Montpellier, Bordeaux Opera, De Vlaamse Opera, and English National Opera. She has also sung both Violetta and Gilda for both English National Opera and Welsh National Opera.
Claire opened the 2019-20 season with concert performances of Elgar’s The Kingdom at the Sage Gateshead and A Sea Symphony with Islington Choral Society.
In 2019 Claire sang the role of Sieglinde Die Walküre in concert with The Mahler Players.
She regularly broadcasts both staged opera and opera gala concerts on BBC Radio, including Vanessa from Wexford Festival, directed by Rodula Gaitanou (see below).
Other BBC transmissions include Mahler's Symphony No.8 with Sir Mark Elder and the Halle and BBC Philharmonic on BBC Radio 3.
Other credits include Britten War Requiem at the Helsinki Festival, Elgar The Kingdom at the 2016 Three Choirs Festival, Strauss Four Last Songs with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Galas at the Barbican Hall, London, and Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Christmas Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
Claire's concert performances have included "Rutter sings Verdi" with the CBSO, Strauss's Vier Letzte Lieder, Mahler Symphonies no’s 8 and 4, Verdi's Requiem, Rossini's Stabat Mater& Petite Messe Solennelle, A Sea Symphony, Beethoven Symphony No.9, Carmina Burana, AChild of Our Time, Songs of the Auvergne, Elijah, The Apostles, The Kingdomand Brahms's Requiem, at all of Britain's major concert halls with orchestras such as the LSO, the Royal Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Concert, BBC Scottish, Hallé, Royal Scottish National, The Philharmonia, The Ulster Orchestra, BSO, CBSO, English Chamber and Scottish Chamber orchestras.
She also sang a programme of bel canto repertoire in the 2007 Prague International Music Festival.
Recordings include a Christmas Album recorded with the Hallé Orchestra (conducted by Carl Davis), Holst's The Mystic Trumpeterwith the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (for which she was nominated for two Classical Brit Awards), Howell’s Hymnus Paradisi (David Hill/BSO) and Elgar’s The Kingdom with Sir Mark Elder and the Halle, recorded ‘live’ and nominated for a 2011 Gramophone Award.
"The best moments – the duet for the two Marys (soprano Claire Rutter and mezzo Susan Bickley) and the famous soprano number The Sun Goeth Down – are superbly done, as are the great choral outpourings." The Guardian
Sir Mark Elder
Claire Rutter, Soprano - The Blessed Virgin Mary
Susan Bickley, Mezzo-soprano - Mary Magdalene
John Hudson, Tenor - St. John
Iain Paterson, Baritone - St. Peter
Hallé Choir, (Tom Seligman Guest Choral Director)
By Carl Orff, Claire Rutter, Thomas Randle, Markus Eiche, Mary Denniss, Andrew Knights, Greg Beardsell, Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Highcliffe Junior Choir, Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop
‘Claire Rutter… thrilling confidence and elan… a true prima donna… [with] spine tingling top notes…’ Sunday Times
This Hallé recording includes a wealth of Christmas favourites, under the direction of BAFTA award-winning conductor and composer, Carl Davis.
The album shows a different side to the Hallé and features new studio recordings by the renowned producer Andrew Keener. It includes both traditional carols such as The First Nowell, Angels from the Realms of Glory and O Holy Night, and timeless classics such as Sleigh Ride, Jingle Bells, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and, of course, White Christmas.
Claire Rutter, Soprano
James Burton, Choral Director
Claire Rutter's Opera Repertoire
I Puritani (Elvira)
The Turn of the Screw (Miss Jessel and Governess)
Gloriana (Queen Elizabeth I)
Peter Grimes (Ellen Orford)
Lucrezia Borgia (title)
Andrea Chénier (Maddalena)
Don Giovanni (Donna Anna, Donna Elvira)
Così fan tutte (Fiordiligi)
Le Nozze di Figaro (Countess Almaviva)
La Gioconda (title)
La fanciulla del West (Minnie)
Madama Butterfly (title)
Manon Lescaut (title)
La Boheme (Mimi/Musetta)
La Rondine (Magda)
Il Tabarro (Giorgetta)
Die Fledermaus (Rosalinde)
Die Frau ohne Schatten (Die Kaiserin)
Un ballo in maschera (Amelia)
La forza del destino (Leonora)
Il Trovatore (Lenora)
La Traviata (Violetta)
Falstaff (Alice Ford)
Die Walküre/Götterdämmerung (Sieglinde, Brünnhilde)
Tristan und Isolde (title)
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Eva)
Claire Rutter's Concert Repertoire
Symphony no. 9 ‘Choral’
Die glorreiche Augenblick
Mass in C Major
A Mass of Life
The Spirit of England
The Mystic Trumpeter
Symphony no.1, 2, 4, 8
Messa di Gloria
Messa di Gloria
Petite messe solennelle
Vier Letzte Lieder
Dorset Opera, Nabucco
"The challenging role of Abigaille was sung with sterling top notes, dignity and vigour by Claire Rutter."
The Guardian, Fiona Maddocks, 3 August 2019
"Claire Rutter hurls herself at the manifold vocal difficulties accorded his adopted daughter Abigaille both fearlessly and with success."
The Stage, George Hall, 25 July 2019
The role of Abigaille, Nabucco’s adopted daughter, is never easy to cast and I cannot think of a British singer who would be able to do justice to the role other than Claire Rutter. Indeed, it was she who turned up in Dorset. The role is written for that very rare operatic beast: the dramatic coloratura soprano. Rutter has proved on more than one occasion that she is certainly up to the task and in the performance I saw, she even added a high E-flat alternative at one point."
Daily Express, Martina Bet, 21 August 2019
"As his supposed daughter Abigaille, Claire Rutter conveyed her character's burning anger in confident, technically impressive vocalism from the top to the bottom of the range including flouncing expertly through swathes of coloratura."
Opera Magazine, George Hall, October 2019
"…the fearless Claire Rutter delivered precisely the kind of grand-scale, technically adroit vocalism required."
Opera Now, George Hall, September 2019
Edgar, Scottish Opera
"Claire Rutter excelled in the soprano part, treating it to all the purity and soulfulnesses it deserves."
Opera, Andrew Clark, January 2019
Un Ballo in Maschera, Grange Park Opera
"Claire Rutter, last year’s accomplished Sieglinde, is a vibrant and dramatic Amelia."
The Stage, David Gutman, 14 June 2018
"His wife and victim Amelia is in the safe hands of Claire Rutter, a fine spinto singer who's often the grande dame but here projects emotional vulnerability with ravishing beauty and superb control."
WhatsOnStage, Mark Valencia, 11 June 2018
"The cast was strong, with Claire Rutter fully in command of Verdi’s notes as the anguished Amelia."
Financial Times, George Hall, 11 June 2018
"Claire Rutter’s Amelia, though, was superb, with attractive steeliness to her voice that is the hallmark of the true dramatic Verdian soprano."
Bachtrack, Matthew Rye, 11 June 2018
"Claire Rutter’s Amelia in particular, would be worth struggling through miles of Surrey Hills hedgerows and thickets to hear."
TheArtsDesk, Boyd Tonkin, 11 June 2018
"Claire Rutter was in gloriously lustrous voice, rising to the top with both ease and beauty, in Act 2’s ‘Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa’ as she foraged for the curative herbs, and in ‘Morro, ma prima in grazia’, when she pleaded for one last chance to hold her son. Rutter persuasively responded to dramatic situation, altering her tone, which was both pure and powerful."
Opera Today, June 2018
Welsh National Opera, Tosca
"Claire Rutter, sharing the roles of Tosca with Mary Elizabeth Williams, sang tonight's title role with conviction, beauty and convincingly passionate drama. The innocent victim of Act 1 elsewhere found more fiery reserve as the tortured opera singer, her voice warmly coloured throughout her range, and her second act “Vissi d'arte” was enormously moving."
Bachtrack, Rohan Shotton, 11 February 2018
"Rutter on this occasion, never shirking her high notes or committed acting, creating as good a sung and acted performance as one is likely to see on the international stage!...Rutter’s acting and singing of ‘Vissi d’arte’ was also outstanding as she thwarted Scarpia and then stabbed him to death."
Seen and Heard International, Robert J Farr, 24 April 2018
"The dramatic soprano Claire Rutter, fully deserving of her status as Britain’s prima Tosca assoluta, was on imperious form."
Whatsonstage.com, Mark Valencia, 12 February 2018
Icelandic Opera, Tosca
"Claire Rutter made a...diva-ish Tosca...The way her face gradually registered the price she would have to pay Scarpia spoke volumes. Rutter has recently sung her first staged Sieglinde and her voice easily rode the climaxes. But she kept a nice amplitude and evenness of phrasing and refined control. 'Vissi d'arte' was quite intimate, with the singer alone on the stage. There was also a real strength of character which allowed her to contemplate making the sacrifice of her virginity to Scarpia."
Planet Hugill, Robert Hugill, 8 November 2017
"English soprano Claire Rutter shone in the title role, delivering a subtle performance and a truly touching and masterful “Vissi d’arte.”
Iceland Review, Jelena Ciric, 26 October 2017
"And what a Tosca! Rutter possesses a big, beautiful voice that could match Johannsson's full throttle approach; but her Vissi d’arte was where the full range of colours and elegance really showed, in a performance that was haunting and ravishingly lovely - worth a trip to Iceland in itself!"
Opera Now, Neil Jones, January 2018
"Rutter sailed onto the stage like a Strindberg heroine, ready to whip her men into line.... I wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d seized the citadel and declared independence rather than casting herself off the battlements."
Opera, Amanda Holloway, February 2018
Die Walküre, Grange Park Opera
"Claire Rutter as Sieglinde and Bryan Register as Siegmund bring conviction to their dawning discovery of their transgressive love."
Express, Clare Colvin, 9 July 2017
"The standout performance in Act I is from Claire Rutter as Sieglinde. Her tone is pure and clear, and her German articulation impeccable."
The Arts Desk, Gavin Dixon, 30 June 2017
"Clare Rutter was womanly and ardent as Sieglinde culminating in her radiant ‘O hehrstes Wunder."
Seen and Heard International, Jim Pritchard, 3 July 2017
"Bryan Register and Claire Rutter sang the pair with rare passion and a full command of Wagner's imposing vocal lines."
WhatsOnStage, Mark Valencia, 2 July 2017
Vanessa, Wexford Festival Opera
"Claire Rutter as the eponymous heroine displayed a fiery spinto that was capable of keeping its power and tone quality throughout the evening. Her passionate declaration to whom she believes is her returned lover in Act I made a deep impression culminating in the powerfully dramatic moment “Do you still love me?” As Vanessa’s flits between flirtatious happiness with Anatol and her wondering what is up with her niece, Rutter alternated between the two states with great aplomb."
Bachtrack, Andrew Larkin, 28 October 2016
"Claire Rutter’s deluded heroine is delivered with forthright tone."
The Guardian, George Hall, 28 October 2016
Norma, Grange Park Opera
"At Grange Park, the technical demands of Bellini's Norma hold no terrors for the extraordinary Claire Rutter, who embraces the meditative hymn of "Casta diva", the coloratura fireworks of the confrontation with Pollione and the Gluckian sublime of her final self-sacrifice with an ease, command and tonal splendour which I haven't heard equalled for a generation."
The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen, June 2009
In 2019 Claire took the brave decision to discuss her won fight with the early stages of bowel cancer to raise awareness of the disease. She spoke to the Daily Telegraph about how the condition affected her life.
Claire is proud to support Primary Robins, an initiative set up and run by Grange Park Opera to encourage school children to sing.
Primary Robins was founded in September 2013. The project enriches the the lives and expands the outlook of school children who have little exposure to music.
Forty years ago, every primary school would have had children sitting around a piano learning songs. This essential part of growing up has been a casualty of today’s curriculum.
The project is startling in its simplicity and effectiveness.
The Robins sit around the piano together and learn traditional songs every week.
Every term the Robins have a new specially prepared Song Book of around ten traditional songs, one of which is in a foreign language.
The Song Book includes musical notation. It is not intended to teach the children to read music, but some see the pattern of how they sing and what the dots do.
The project began with 380 Robins in Hampshire. Today there are 2,000 Robins spread over Durham, Newcastle, Nottingham, Hampshire and Surrey.
This equates to an impressive 40,000 hours of teaching per academic year.