“Unanimity of sound that was as rich, full-bodied and the equal of many professional ensembles”
— Musicweb International
Estonian Mezzo-soprano Kai Rüütel studied in at the Georg Ots Music School in Tallinn and then at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague and the Dutch National Opera Academy, graduating from the Masters programme with Special Honours. Whilst studying in the Netherlands she was supported by Eesti Kultuurkapital. Kai won First Prize in the National Competition for Young Classical Singers in Estonia three years in a row in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
In 2009 Kai became a member of the prestigious Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, making her ROH debut as Venerable Lady in The Gambler and covering the role of Blanche. In the 09/10 season she sang Rosette Manon and Flora La Traviata and also performed these roles with the company when it toured to Japan with Antonio Pappano in September 2010.
In December 2010, Kai stepped in at the Royal Opera House for an indisposed Christine Rice as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel receiving critical praise for her performance. The Independent wrote “Kai Rüütel as Hänsel bristles with the grumpiness unique to boys on the cusp of puberty, her voice crisp and forthright”. Other roles in the 2010/11 season include Second Lady Die Zauberflöte conducted by Sir Colin Davis, and Dorothée Cendrillon. She also covers Madame Dangeville Adriana Lecouvreur, Charlotte Werther and Dunyasha The Tsar’s Bride.
Kai’s other operatic roles include Dorabella Così fan tutte, Ottavia and Virtù L’incoronazione di Poppea, Zerlina Don Giovanni, Mère Marie Dialogues des Carmelites and Carmen. She has participated in masterclasses with Graciela Araya, Mark Tucker and Paula Chateauneuf, Ryland Davies, Muriel Corradini, Patricia MacMahon, Kenneth Montgomery, Carolyn Watkinson and Meinard Kraak. She currently studies with Jon Thorsteinsson.
Despite another four months left on the Jette Parker programme, Kai has already been invited back to the Royal Opera House for the 11/12 season.