Neil Craighead’s burgeoning career has recently taken him from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, featured in operas by Somers, Verdi and Puccini. The tall, imposing bass-baritone’s coming season includes his company debut with Calgary Opera as Colline in La bohème, as well as Minskman in the Canadian debut of Jonathan Dove’s Flight with Pacific Opera Victoria. He also joins the Vancouver Bach Choir in as the bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah.
Last season he was featured as Colline in productions by Vancouver Opera and the Canadian Opera Company, also appeared Don Fernando in Fidelio for Pacific Opera Victoria, and made his role debut as Baron Scarpia in Tosca with Opera on the Avalon.
Recent credits include Der Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte and Zuniga in Carmen for Opéra de Québec, Count Ceprano in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Rigoletto and 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 premiere of Oksana G, and as Pietro In Simon Boccanegra for Pacific Opera Victoria.
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. That season he also appeared as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with both Edmonton Opera and Saskatoon Opera.
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 afterschool 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.