Estonian mezzo-soprano Kai Rüütel-Pajula appears regularly at theatres such as Royal Opera House, Dutch National Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, Vlaamse Opera and Grand Théâtre de Genève. A consummate singer and actress, she has a particular affinity to the German and Slavic repertoire, as well as contemporary works.
"Kai Rüütel offers a sensual sound, with more authoritarian inflections, with a glorious counter-C held at the opening of the fifth door."
"Kai Rüütel as Mary, so distinctive that her voice alone commanded presence, [...] She made me understand why Wagner, who didn't waste time on triviality, made the part significant. [...] As I listened to Rüütel 's firmly assertive yet womanly singing, I thought of Mary and Martha in the gospel of St Luke. Martha works hard, while Mary dreams.”
"Kai Rüütel returns to Sonyetka with her warm mezzo-contralto… Her declamatory lines are delivered with precision and passion (spellbinding even in the low register) despite the limited lyricism of the role."
“...The superlative Kai Rüütel stands out with her meaty and well-projected voice.”
"Kai Rüütel’s sympathetic, emotionally perceptive and tactfully diplomatic Flora Bervoix."
Estonian mezzo-soprano Kai Rüütel-Pajula has appeared to great critical acclaim on the stages of the Royal Opera House, Dutch National Opera, Theater an der Wien, Teatro Real, Opera Vlaanderen, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Scottish Opera, Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse, and Dallas Opera. A consummate singer and actress, she has collaborated with directors such as Robert Carsen, Laurent Pelly, Keith Warner and Calixto Beito.
Recent and upcoming enagagements include her return to the Opéra National de Lyon as Angel in Calixto Bieito’s staged production of Mendelssohn Elijah; her debut at the Grand Théâtre de Genève as Sonyetka Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and at the Opéra National de Lyon as Judith in Andriy Zholdak’s innovative new interpretation of Bluebeard’s Castle; and Die Wirtstochter in Christof Loy’s new production of Königskinder at the Dutch National Opera. Her concert appearances include Beethoven Symphony No.9 with Trondheim Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Han-Na Chang.
Further successes include her debut at Theater Dortmund as Fricka Die Walküre; at Opéra national de Paris as Wellgunde Götterdämmerung and Second Lady in a new production of Die Zauberflöte; a return to the Teatro Real as Second Norn Götterdämmerung; Stravinsky Pulcinella with the MDR Rundfunkchor under the baton of Dennis Russel Davies; a new production of Der Schmied von Gent at Vlaamse Opera where she performed the lead female role, Smee’s wife; Emilia Otello with Royal Opera House on tour to Japan; Waltraute Die Walküre at Dutch National Opera; Lyubasha at Estonian National Opera; her return to Theater an der Wien alongside Christian Gerhaher in a staged production of Mendelssohn Elijah; a highly anticipated operatic debut on home ground in the title role of Carmen at Estonian National Opera; returns to Royal Opera House as Waltraute Die Walküre; Meg Page Falstaff and Blanche The Gambler - both new productions presented by Opera Vlaanderen, and Zweite Dame Die Zauberflöte at Theater an der Wien. Other highlights include her US operatic debut as Olga Eugene Onegin with Dallas Opera, Mary Der fliegende Holländer at Teatro Real; Emilia in new productions of Otelloat Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Opera Vlaanderen; the world premiere of Infinite Now by American-Israeli composer Chaya Czernowin at Opera Vlaanderen; Meg Page Falstaff, Wellgunde Der Ring des Nibelungen; and as Marchesa Malibea Il Viaggio a Reims in a special gala performance - all at Royal Opera House Covent Garden; Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel at Scottish Opera, Blanche The Gambler at De Nederlandse Opera, Sonyetka Lady Macbeth from the Mtsensk District at Opera Vlaanderen; Siegrune Die Walküre at Gran Teatre del Liceu; Anina Der Rosenkavalier at Dutch National Opera, Flowermaiden and Esquire Parsifal at Teatro Real; Kate Julian Owen Wingrave at Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse; and Nefertiti in Glass’ Akhnaten at Opera Vlaanderen.
Recent concert and recital performances include performances of Elgar The Dream of Gerontius with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko, and at The Three Choirs Festival Mahler Rückert-Lieder with Vlaamse Opera; her Estonian recital debut, accompanied by Roger Vignoles; her US debut with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra singing Mozart Requiem; a recital with Roger Vignoles at Oxford Lieder; ‘Stars of Operalia’ gala at the Birgitta Festival; an opera gala concert with Simon O’Neill at the Mumbai National Center of Performing Arts; Das Lied von der Erde with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra; Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with the Residentie Orchestra of the Netherlands; Mahler Rückert Lieder at the Cadogan Hall; Beethoven Mass in C with City of Birmingham Symphony and Philharmonia orchestras; Zemlinsky Sechs Gasange at Philharmonie Berlin; and gala concerts in Latvia, the Czech Republic and with the RTE Orchestra and John Wilson.
Rüütel-Pajula studied at the Georg Ots Music School in Tallinn, the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague and the Dutch National Opera Academy. In 2009 Rüütel became a member of the prestigious Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, making her debut as Venerable Lady in The Gambler and covering the role of Blanche. Her roles for the company included Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel, Rosette Manon and Flora La traviata (also performed on tour in Japan), Second Lady Die Zauberflöte conducted by Sir Colin Davis, and Dorothée Cendrillon. She covered Madame Dangeville Adriana Lecouvreur, Charlotte Werther and Dunyasha The Tsar’s Bride.
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