Claire Rutter


"The challenging role of Abigaille was sung with sterling top notes, dignity and vigour by Claire Rutter."

The Guardian, Fiona Maddocks

"The cast was strong, with Claire Rutter fully in command of Verdi’s notes as the anguished Amelia"

Financial Times, George Hall

"And what a Tosca! Rutter possesses a big, beautiful voice… 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."

Opera Now, Neil Jones

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Claire Rutter is well known for the “rich dramatic flair” [The Dallas Examiner] of her performances of the major Italian and Germanic dramatic roles. She has appeared internationally in houses including Opera Australia, Florida Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opéra National de Montpellier, Opéra National du Rhin, Theater Basel, Flemish National Opera, Finnish National Opera and Den Norske Opera.

Recent operatic highlights include the role of Amelia Un Ballo in Maschera and Sieglinde Die Walküre for Grange Park Opera, Tosca for Icelandic Opera and Welsh National Opera, Leonora La Forza del Destino (also for Welsh National Opera), the title role in Vanessa for Wexford Festival Opera, Abigaille Nabucco for Dorset Opera, Fidelia Edgar and Mother L’Enfant Prodigue for Scottish Opera, the title role in La Gioconda for Malmö Opera, and Maddalena Andrea Chénier with Chelsea Opera Group.

On the concert platform in 2022/23, Claire sang Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the Barbican, which she performed the previous season at the Royal Festival Hall, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Oxford Philharmonic, and Verdi's Requiem with the Halle Orchestra, which she also sang the previous season with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Peter Grimes (Ellen Orford)

Theater Erfurt (October 2023)

… especially Claire Rutter as widowed teacher Ellen Orford and friend of Grimes [is] very convincing with [her] portrayal of inner conflict and contradictions.

Christian Schmidt, Concerti

…an exquisite ensemble of protagonists… [including] Claire Rutter as Ellen Orford

Joachim Lange, Neue Musikzeitung

Andrea Chénier (Maddalena), Chelsea Opera Group

QEH (May 2022)

Claire Rutter, an acclaimed Aida and Tosca: all the expected thrills and spills for Maddalena’s music… The soprano introduced herself with a floaty, youthful delicacy, encouraged by the gossamer textures evoked by Marciano's conducting of COG's semi-pro orchestra, but rose to a moving and climactic 'La mamma morta' and, in her big duets with Hughes Jones, nailed the high notes with blade-like precision and intensity.

Hugh Canning, Opera Magazine

This Chénier’s Maddalena di Coigny was soprano Claire Rutter who impressively demonstrated the range of her expression, singing with a wonderfully delicate pianissimo – set against gentle bassoon, clarinet and oboe – as, dressed as a servant, she waited for Chénier in Act 2, while elsewhere producing a lovely ripeness of tone and employing a full chest register. The account of her suffering following her mother’s death, before Chénier’s avowal of love, was touching and tender (‘La mamma morta’). And, in her duets with Jones, as they sought to ward off their woes with passion, she revelled in the opulence that Giordano encourages, both singers absolutely secure and relishing the high-octane music and drama. … Jones and Rutter sang with refulgent radiance of Chénier’s and Maddalena’s longing for a shared death

Claire Seymour, Opera Today

Clare Rutter was a powerful Maddalena di Coigny, taking the spinto soprano part with real power; the final stages of the opera showed how carefully the voices had been chosen, Rutter and Hughes Jones perfectly in sync emotionally. Rutter’s ‘La mamma morta’ was a high point of the evening, dramatic and heartfelt.

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International

Selected Reviews

The dramatic soprano Claire Rutter, fully deserving of her status as Britain's prima Tosca assoluta, was on imperious form, her voice steady and powerful not just in the big shrieks but across the range. Rutter's assumption of the role this time was even more accomplished than her English-language account at ENO. She sang her star aria 'Vissi d'arte' very directly, immersing herself in its message ('I lived for art and never hurt a soul') and eschewing any temptation to prettify it.

Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage, Welsh National Opera (Tosca)

The cast was strong, with Claire Rutter fully in command of Verdi’s notes as the anguished Amelia

George Hall, Financial Times, Grange Park Opera (Un Ballo in Maschera)

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...

The Daily Telegraph, English National Opera (Lucrezia Borgia)

Nabucco (Abigaille)

July 2019

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 alternativo 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

October 2018

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

June 2018

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

February 2018

Claire Rutter ... 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., Mark Valencia, 12 February 2018

Icelandic Opera, Tosca

November 2017

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

June 2017

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

October 2016

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

Claire Rutter's Opera Repertoire


Vanessa (title)


Norma (title)

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)

Idomeneo (Elettra)

Le Nozze di Figaro (Countess Almaviva)


La Gioconda (title)


Edgar (Fidelia)

Tosca (title)

La fanciulla del West (Minnie)

Madama Butterfly (title)

Turandot (title)

Manon Lescaut (title)

La Boheme (Mimi/Musetta)

La Rondine (Magda)

Il Tabarro (Giorgetta)


Die Fledermaus (Rosalinde)


Die Frau ohne Schatten (Die Kaiserin)

Elektra (title)

Salome (title)


Un ballo in maschera (Amelia)

La forza del destino (Leonora)

Il Trovatore (Lenora)

Aida (title)

Ernani (Elvira)

La Traviata (Violetta)

Nabucco (Abigaille)

Falstaff (Alice Ford)


Die Walküre/Götterdämmerung (Sieglinde, Brünnhilde)

Tristan und Isolde (title)

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Eva)

Lohengrin (Elsa)

Tannhäuser (Elisabeth)

Claire Rutter's Concert Repertoire


German Requiem


Symphony no. 9 ‘Choral’

Die glorreiche Augenblick

Mass in C Major

Missa solemnis

Ah, Perfido


War Requiem


A Mass of Life


The Kingdom

The Apostles

The Spirit of England


The Mystic Trumpeter


Symphony no.1, 2, 4, 8


Stabat Mater



Messa di Gloria


Stabat Mater

Messa di Gloria

Petite messe solennelle






Vier Letzte Lieder

Orchestral songs



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