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 Chenier, Fiordiligi in Cosi 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 UK, she has sung Maddalena in Andrea Chenier 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 Elvira in I Puritani and 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 US debut as Fiordiligi in Cosi 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, Opéras de Montpellier, Opéra national du Rhin, Strasbourg, and De Vlaamse Opera; Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro and Tosca for Opéra de Bordeaux; Tosca for Pacific Symphony; Mimi in La bohème at the Beijing International Festival; the title role in Aïda for Opera Australia; the title role in Aïda and Amelia in Un ballo in maschera for Finnish National Opera; Amelia in Un ballo in maschera for Florida Grand Opera; Alice Ford in Falstaff for Santa Fe Opera; Violetta in La traviata for Den Norske Opera; and Sieglinde in Die Walküre at the Opéra de Rennes.
Conductors with whom she has worked include Marin Alsop, Jane Glover, Speranza Scappucci, David Charles Abell, Sir Richard Armstrong, Paolo Arrivabeni, Stephen Barlow, Carl St. Clair, Francesco Corti, Paul Daniel, Carl Davis, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, David Hill, Stephen Lord, Gianluca Marcianó, Nicolae Moldoveanu, David Parry, Stefano Ranzani, Claude Schnitzler, Andreas Spering and Edo de Waart. In concert, she has sung with orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; the English Chamber Orchestra, the Hallé, the London Mozart Players, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, 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. And for Naxos, Beethoven’s Der glorreiche Augenblick; Holst’s The Mystic Trumpeter, Howells’ Hymnus Paradisi and Carmina Burana. For the RPO’s own label, she has recorded extracts from La bohème and Madama Butterfly and on the Halle’s own label, she can be heard in The Kingdom (Gramophone Award Winner) and Christmas Classics. Her London performances as Lucrezia Borgia and Aïda have been televised by Sky Arts and the later is now available on BBC DVD.
In 20014 Rutter sang Elvira in a short version of I Puritani during the Oslo Operafestival. In 2015 she will be back to sing in the anniversary concert at Posthallen together with singers as Knut Skram, Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz, Thomas Ruud, Bror Magnus Tødenes and Yngve André Søberg.