Neil Craighead’s burgeoning career has taken him from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, featured in operas by Somers, Verdi and Puccini. The tall, imposing bass-baritone’s coming season includes performances as the Bass soloist in Mozart’s Reqiuem with the Vancouver Bach Choir and in Handel’s Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and L’Orchestre classique de Montréal.
This past year he was featured in Calgary Opera’s newly commissioned work Arriving at the Fire as part of their Opera Labs series and the Music on 17th concert series. In 2019 he was featured as Colline in Calgary Opera’s production of La Boheme and as the Minskman in the Canadian premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Flight at Pacific Opera Victoria.
Other recent opera credits include Colline in productions by Vancouver Opera and the Canadian Opera Company, Don Fernando in Fidelio for Pacific Opera Victoria, and his role debut as Baron Scarpia in Tosca with Opera on the Avalon. He appeared as Der Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte and Zuniga in Carmen for Opéra de Québec, and multiple roles in Louis Riel – celebrating Canada’s Sesquicentennial – with performances in Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City. He was also heard in Tapestry New Opera’s highly anticipated world premiere of Oksana G in 2017.
Mr. Craighead earned a Dora Award nomination in 2014 for his portrayal of Leporello in Against the Grain Theatre’s contemporary reimagining of Mozart’s Don Goivanni entitled #UncleJohn which appeared in Toronto and later toured to Ottawa Chamberfest.
An alumnus of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, Mr Craighead has appeared for the COC in La traviata, Roberto Devereux, Tosca, Gianni Schicchi, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Zauberflöte, Idomeneo, Salome, Dialogues des Carmelites, La clemenza di Tito and the Robert Lepage production of The Nightingale and other Fables.
Mr. Craighead was born in Cape Town, South Africa and grew up in Calgary, where he was member of the Calgary Boys Choir and Mount Royal Youth Choir. He studied voice at the after school Academy program of Mount Royal University and later received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Opera from the University of British Columbia. During his formative years, he attended young artist programs in Italy and Alberta and participated in tours and performances in Austria, the Czech Republic and China. His most recent vocal teachers are Wendy Nielsen and Jason Howard. Neil is currently studying at the University of British Columbia to complete his Doctorate of Musical Arts in the studio of acclaimed American baritone/tenor J. Patrick Raftery.