Neil Craighead was born in Cape Town, South Africa and grew up in Calgary, where he was member of the Calgary Boys Choir. In his youth he studied voice in the Academy program at Mount Royal College and later received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Opera from the University of British Columbia where he studied with Canadian baritone Peter Barcza. During his university years, he participated in tours and performances in Austria, the Czech Republic and China.
His 2016/2017 season includes Pietro in Simon Boccanegra for Pacific Opera Victoria, Second Armed Man in Die Zauberflöte for the Canadian Opera Company as well as the Canadian Opera Company’s new co-production of Louis Riel with the National Arts Centre.
Mr. Craighead recently joined forces with Against the Grain Theatre for a contemporary reimagining of Mozart’s Don Goivanni playing the role of Leporello. Titled #UncleJohn, the production was heard in Toronto and toured to Ottawa’s Chamberfest during the summer of 2015. He returned to the Canadian Opera Company as Dr. Grenvil in La traviata in the fall of 2015 and was also heard as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte for Edmonton Opera and the roles of Somnus and Cadmus in Semele for the Canadian Opera Company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
An alumnus of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, Mr Craighead has appeared for the company as Sciarrone in Tosca, the Usher in Rigoletto, Pinellino in Gianni Schicchi, Truffaldino in Ariadne auf Naxos, the Speaker in the Ensemble performance of Die Zauberflöte, the Oracle in Idomeneo, and a Japanese Envoy in the Robert Lepage production of The Nightingale and other Fables in Toronto and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Further COC credits include a Cappadocian in Salome, the Jailer in Dialogues des Carmelites, and Publio in the Ensemble Studio performance of La clemenza di Tito.
Other operatic credits include Colline in La Bohème with Against the Grain Theatre, Leporello and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, Pistola in Falstaff, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte for Opera NUOVA Vocal Arts Festival and Dr. Furtwängler in the world premier of The Dream Healer with UBC Opera.
|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
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.