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 is highlighted by his role debut as Zuniga in Carmen for Opéra de Québec. He returns to the Canadian Opera Company for Count Ceprano in Rigoletto and earlier was featured in that company’s production of Louis Riel – celebrating Canada’s Sesquicentennial – with performances in Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City. He was heard in Tapestry New Opera’s highly anticipated premiere of Oksana G and also appeared during the 16/17 season as Pietro In Simon Boccanegra for Pacific Opera Victoria and Second Armed Man in Die Zauberflöte for the Canadian Opera Company.
Mr. Craighead’s recent credits include Against the Grain Theatre’s contemporary reimagining of Mozart’s Don Goivanni playing the role of Leporello. Titled #UncleJohn, the production was heard in Toronto and later toured to Ottawa’s Chamberfest. Cast as Dr. Grenvil in La traviata by Canadian Opera Company, he was heard as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte for Edmonton Opera and the roles of Somnus and Cadmus in the COC’s Semele took him to the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
An alumnus of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, Mr Craighead has appeared for the COC in 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. He studied voice at the Academy program of Mount Royal College 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.
|Barber||David||A HAND OF BRIDGE|
|Britten||Russian Father/Waiter||DEATH IN VENICE|
|Donizetti||Nottinham’s Servant||ROBERTO DERVEREUX|
|Gluck||Minister||IPHIGÉNIE EN TAURIDE|
|Humperdinck||Father/Sandman||HANSEL UND GRETEL|
|Mozart||Publio||LA CLEMENZA DI TITO|
|Don Alfonso||COSÌ FAN TUTTE|
|Barolo||LE NOZZE DI FIGARO|
|Pergolesi||Uberto/Vespone||LA SERVA PADRONA|
|Poulenc||Thierry||DIALOGUE DES CARMELITES|
|Strauss, R.||Truffaldino||ARIADNE AUF NAXOS|
|Stravinsky||Japanese Envoy/Bonze||LE ROSSIGNOL|
|Wagner||Steuermann||TRISTAN UND ISOLDE|
“Craighead’s singing with its caramelized undertones is intoxicating, his instrument lustrous as neon.”[Against the Grain Theatre, Uncle John] Opera Going Toronto, Ian Ritchie
“Craighead’s Leporello has authority and charm, and McPhail, who moves with grace and ease throughout the space, has the swagger of a modern-day player. Both their voices are superb.” [Against the Grain Theatre, Uncle John] NOW, Glenn Sumi
“Craighead sang Ferrando’s aria from Il Trovatore with power and rich tone, in fact better than I’ve ever heard him.”
La Scena Musicale
“Returning bass-baritone Neil Craighead gave us “Di due figli vivea” from Il Trovatore. I assume he’s understudying Russel Braun in that production. He was very assured and pleasing to listen to. The voice is much bigger and more mature than a couple of years ago.”
“Neil Craighead was pretty much ideal as Publio. he doesn’t have the big numbers but he does need to act and make the role more than just a foil for Tito. He did this with just the right combo of humour and menace. If they remake Life of Brian he should be a shoe in.”
“Neil Craighead was a surprisingly fantastic Colline with a velvety lower range.”
Charlebois Post, Axel Van Chee
“And finally the Publio – this was Neil Craighead, a comparative veteran of the Ensemble Studio. And he is clearly an immensely valuable member of the company – a rare example of a confident and assured young bass baritone.”
Brian Dickie Blog
2013 AWARD RECIPIENT
An interview with Neil Craighead for the 25th Anniversary of the Ontario Arts Foundation. Neil was the recipient of the 2013 Christina and Louis Quilico Award.
50th ANNIVERSARY of LOUIS RIEL
Neil Craighead appears as William Bernard O’Donoghue in the Canadian Opera Company’s new production of Somer’s Louis Riel. Performances run April 20 to May 13 at the Four Seasons Centre.
The story of Louis Riel, the Métis leader and founder of Manitoba, is told in this landmark work. Composed by Harry Somers for our nation’s centennial in 1967, this uniquely Canadian contribution to the opera world is returns on the work’s 50th anniversary, and will help mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation. The COC has joined with Canada’s National Arts Centre to proudly present this new production of Louis Riel.