The German mezzo-soprano, Ruth Hesse, studied at Hamburg and Milan.
Ruth Hesse made her debut in 1958 at Lübeck. Engaged in 1962 at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, she sang there for 26 years. In 1963 she took part in the first staged performance of Milhaud's Oresteia music, and in 1965 created Frau von Hufnagel in Der junge Lord. She sang at Bayreuth from 1963 to 1965, and from 1966 at the Vienna State Opera, where her roles included Ortrud, Brangane and Eboli. She made her Covent Garden debut in 1969 as the Nurse in Die Frau ohne Schatten, a role she sang at Salzburg in 1974, San Francisco in 1976 and Buenos Aires in 1979.
Ruth Hesses repertoire included Carmen, Mistress Quickly, Fricka, Herodias and Clytemnestra, which she sang in Florence and Washington, as well as Berlin and Vienna. A singer of great intensity, she had a rich and vibrant voice, particularly strong in the lower register.