Born in South Shields, Claire 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 received outstanding reviews for her performance in English National Opera’s new production of Lucrezia Borgia (“In the title role, Claire Rutter gives a glorious display of bel canto, with elegant legato, supple crescendo and diminuendo, crisply articulated runs, stunning high notes and even a trill. She looks wonderful and moves regally,” wrote The Daily Telegraph) and for ENO she has also sung Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, the title roles in Tosca and Aïda, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, Elvira in Ernani, Gilda in Rigoletto and Violetta in La traviata.
For three years, she was a company principal with Scottish Opera, where her roles included Maddalena in Andrea Chénier, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Elettra in Idomeneo, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Gilda in Rigoletto and Violetta in La traviata. Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, she has sung Maddalena in Andrea Chénier and the title roles in Manon Lescaut and Giovanna d’Arco for Chelsea Opera Group, the title roles in La Gioconda and Abigaille in Nabucco for Opera North, Gilda in Rigoletto and Violetta in La traviata for Welsh National Opera and the title role in Aïda for Raymond Gubbay Ltd. (“ Claire Rutter – already acclaimed in the title role at ENO – was on gleaming form, soaring to the climaxes of both of her big solos with apparently effortless ease …” wrote Opera). She has also established a close relationship with Grange Park Opera, where she has sung the title roles in new productions of Norma and Tosca (“… the only British soprano with all the requisite vocal thrills and spills for Tosca, and she delivers big time …” wrote The Sunday Times).
She made her United States debut as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte for Dallas Opera, being nominated for the Maria Callas Award, and recently returned as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. Her international engagements have further included Donna Anna in Don Giovanni for Opéra de Bordeaux, Opéra de Montpellier, Opéra National du Rhin (Strasbourg) and De Vlaamse Opera; Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro and Tosca for Opéra de Bordeaux; Mimì in La bohème at the Beijing International Festival; the title role in Aïda for Opera Australia; Amelia in Un ballo in maschera for Finnish National Opera and Florida Grand Opera; Alice Ford in Falstaff for Santa Fe Opera; and Violetta in La traviata for Den Norske Opera.
Conductors with whom she has worked include Jane Glover, Sir Richard Armstrong, Paolo Arrivabeni, Stephen Barlow, Paul Daniel, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Stephen Lord, Gianluca Marcianó, Nicolae Moldoveanu, David Parry, Stefano Ranzani, Andreas Spering and Edo de Waart. In concert, she has sung with orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Hallé, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra.
For Chandos, she has recorded Lennox Berkeley’s A Dinner Engagement and Ruth with the City of London Sinfonia conducted by Richard Hickox; for Hyperion, Sullivan’s The Contrabandista with the New London Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp; for Naxos, Beethoven’s Der glorreiche Augenblick with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton; Holst’s The Mystic Trumpeter with the RSNO conducted by David Lloyd-Jones, Howells’ Hymnus Paradisi with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Hill; Carmina burana with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop; and extracts from La bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Charles Abell (RPO). For the Hallé’s own label, she can be heard in The Kingdom conducted by Sir Mark Elder (Winner of a 2011 Gramophone Choral Award) and Christmas Classics conducted by Carl Davis. Her London performances as Lucrezia Borgia and Aïda have been televised by Sky Arts and the latter is now available on BBC DVD.
Last season she returned to Grange Park Opera as Elvira in I puritani; to Finnish National Opera in the title role of Aïda and as Amelia in Un ballo in maschera; appeared in an opera gala at the Buxton Festivaland made debuts with Pacific Symphony in the title role of Tosca, at the Opéra de Rennes as Sieglinde in Die Walküre and at the Llangollen Festival, where she sang the Verdi Requiem.
Her future engagements include Violetta in La traviata for Grange Park Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni for Finnish National Opera, the title role in Tosca at the Theater Basel, the title role in Turandot for Scottish Opera, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the London Mozart Players and Classics at the Movies with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.