Claire Rutter scored a huge critical success with her performances of La Gioconda for Opera North, in which she was compared to the great diva, Maria Callas. She was hailed as a "Violetta to die for" in the British national press, and her success in La Traviata was followed by highly acclaimed performances of Gilda in Rigoletto, which served to strengthen further her position as Britain’s foremost young Italianate soprano. Born in South Shields, County Durham, Claire studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at the National Opera Studio, sponsored by The Friends of English National Opera. She won numerous awards, which enabled her to study with Ileana Cotrubas. Claire was nominated for the Maria Callas Award following her US début as Fiordiligi Cosi fan Tutte for Dallas Opera. She has also sung Tosca, Elvira Ernani and Amelia Un Ballo in Maschera for English National Opera; Violetta La Traviata for Den Norske Opera, Oslo; Donna Anna Don Giovanni for both Opéra de Montpellier and English National Opera; the title role in Verdi's Giovanna d’Arco at the Ludwigshafen Festival with Opera North; Lucia di Lammermoor with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Mimi in La Bohème in Hong Kong and in the Beijing International Festival; Amelia Un Ballo in Maschera for Florida Grand Opera and Abigaille Nabucco for Opera North. She was for three years a principal with Scottish Opera, for whom her rôles have included Violetta, Fiordiligi, Gilda, Countess Nozze di Figaro, Elettra Idomeneo, Rosalinde Die Fledermaus and Maddalena Andrea Chénier. She has also sung both Violetta and Gilda for both English National Opera and Welsh National Opera.
Claire's concert performances have included Strauss's Vier Letzte Lieder (replacing Dame Margaret Price with great success at short notice) and numerous concerts around Britain with orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, Hallé, Royal Scottish National, English Chamber, Scottish Chamber and City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras.
Her recordings include highlights from La Bohème and Madame Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Holst's The Mystic Trumpeter with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (for which she was nominated for two Classical Brit Awards), and she regularly broadcasts both staged opera and opera gala concerts on BBC Radio. She has recorded a selection of Puccini arias with the London Symphony Orchestra, sung Phyllis in Iolanthe in a televised performance from the BBC Proms, and recorded a Christmas Album with the Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Carl Davis. 2005 saw the release of Lennox Berkeley’s operas Ruth and A Dinner Engagement, conducted by Richard Hickox.