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 a reprise of the role of Colline in La bohème for Calgary Opera- which he recently performed both at Vancouver Opera and at the Canadian Opera Company- along with an appearance as bass-baritone soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Vancouver Bach Choir, and a return to Pacific Opera Victoria to sing the role of Minksman in Dove’s Flight. Highlights of the past two seasons include Der Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte for Opéra de Québec, Don Fernando in Fidelio for Pacific Opera Victoria, his role debut as Scarpia in Tosca with Opera on the Avalon, as well as Zuniga in Carmen for Opéra de Québec, and Count Ceprano in Rigoletto with the Canadian Opera Company.
Equally at home in new works, Mr. Craighead was notably involved in COC’s production of Louis Riel – celebrating Canada’s Sesquicentennial – with performances in Toronto, Ottawa, and Quebec City. He participated in Tapestry New Opera’s highly anticipated premiere of Oksana G, and also sang the role of Leporello in Against the Grain Theatre’s contemporary reimagining of Mozart’s Don Goivanni. Titled #UncleJohn, the production was heard in Toronto and later toured to Ottawa’s Chamberfest.
Other recent engagements of note include the role of Pietro in Simon Boccanegra at Pacific Opera Victoria, Dr. Grenvil in La traviata with the Canadian Opera Company, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte for Edmonton Opera, and the roles of Somnus and Cadmus in the COC’s Semele, which 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|
“Bass-baritone Neil Craighead sung Act IV’s ‘Vecchia zimarra’ – Colline’s farewell to his overcoat – in a very effective manner, with a redeeming simplicity, well-supported long phrases and judicious control of tempo.”
[La bohème, Vancouver Opera] Vancouver Classical Music, Nicolas Krusek
“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.”
[Uncle John, Against the Grain Theatre] NOW, Glenn Sumi
“Craighead’s singing with its caramelized undertones is intoxicating, his instrument lustrous as neon.”
[Uncle John, Against the Grain Theatre] Opera Going Toronto, Ian Ritchie
“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
Composed by Jonathan Dove with libretto by April de Angelis, Flight gets its Canadian premiere at Pacific Opera Victoria. Conducted by Timothy Vernon, with soprano Jacqueline Woodley (Tina), mezzo-soprano Emilia Boteva (Older Woman) and Allyson McHardy (Minskwoman), baritones John Brancy (Steward) and Justin Welsh (Immigration Officer), and bass-baritone Neil Craighead (Minsksman). Opens February 20 and runs through March 1, 2020. pacificopera.ca
LA BOHÈME WITH THE VANCOUVER OPERA
Neil Craighead joins the Vancouver Opera to sing the role of Colline in La bohème from February 14 through 24, 2019. vancouveropera.ca