Neil Craighead made his Pacific Opera Victoria debut as Truffaldino in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos in 2014. He returns for the role of Pietro in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra.
Neil Craighead was born in Cape Town, South Africa and grew up in Calgary, where he was a 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.
During the 2016/17 season he will also be heard as Second Armed Man in Die Zauberflöte for the Canadian Opera Company and will appear in the COC's new production of Louis Riel, which will be presented in Toronto at the Four Seasons Centre and in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre.
Mr. Craighead recently performed the role of Leporello in Against the Grain Theatre's contemporary reimagining of Mozart's Don Giovanni. Titled #UncleJohn, the production was heard in Toronto and toured to Ottawa's Chamberfest during the summer of 2015. Neil 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 the Canadian Opera Company production of Semele at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Mr. Craighead attended the Opera NUOVA Vocal Arts Festival in Edmonton, where he studied with John Fanning and diction master Nico Castel among others, and performed the roles of Sarastro and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte.
An alumnus of the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio, he 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 Carmélites, 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 and Dr. Furtwängler in the world premièr of The Dream Healer with UBC Opera.
Craighead's singing with its caramelized undertones is intoxicating, his instrument lustrous as neon.
Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto, review of Against the Grain Theatre's #UncleJohn