Estonian mezzo-soprano Kai Rüütel was a Jette Parker Young Artist for The Royal Opera 2009–11, singing roles including Flora Bervoix (La traviata), Rosette (Manon), Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel) and Dorothée (Cendrillon). Since leaving the Programme she has returned to The Royal Opera to sing Meg Page (Falstaff), Marchesa Melibea (Il viaggio a Reims, Jette Parker Young Artists tenth anniversary concert) and Wellgunde (Der Ring des Nibelungen). In the 2014/15 Season she sings Meg Page for the Company.
Rüütel studied at the Georg Ots Music School, Tallinn, the Koniklijk Conservatorium in The Hague and the Dutch National Opera Academy. She won first prize in the Estonian National Competition for Young Classical Singers for three successive years (2001–3). Her operatic appearances since leaving the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme have included Hänsel for Scottish Opera, Blanche (The Gambler) for Dutch National Opera, Sonetka (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) for Vlaamse Opera and Siegrune (Die Walküre) for the Liceu, Barcelona.
Rüütel’s concert appearances include Mahler’s Rückert Lieder at Cadogan Hall, Zemlinsky and Mahler songs at the Berlin Philharmonie, Mozart’s Requiem with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Mass in C with the City of Birmingham Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony no.9 with the Residentie Orchestra, Netherlands, Dream of Gerontius at the Three Choirs Festival and gala concerts in Ireland, Latvia and the Czech Republic.
Nadine Livingston, Kai Rüütel, Harriet Williams and Wolfgang Koch in rehearsal for Der Ring des Nibelungen © Clive Barda/ROH 2012
Nadine Livingston as Woglinde, Kai Rüütel as Wellgunde, Harriet Williams as Flosshilde and Stefan Vinke as Siegfried in Götterdämmerung © Clive Barda/ROH 2012
Kai Rüütel as Rosette and Simona Mihai as Poussette in Manon © Bill Cooper/ROH 2010
Kai Rüütel in Manon, The Royal Opera © ROH/Bill Cooper, 2010