Neil Craighead was born in Cape Town, South Africa and grew up in Calgary. He was member of the Calgary Boys Choir and studied voice throughout his youth in the Academy program at Mount Royal College. He studied at the University of British Columbia with Canadian baritone Peter Barcza and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Opera. During his university years, he participated in tours and performances in Austria, the Czech Republic and China.
This coming season he will be heard as Pietro in Simon Boccanegra for Pacific Opera Victoria, Second Armed Man in Die Zauberflöte for the Canadian Opera Company as well as appearing in the COC’s new production of Louis Riel, which will be presented in Toronto and Ottawa.
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.
Mr. Craighead attended the Opera NUOVA Vocal Arts Festival in Edmonton, AB, where he studied with John Fanning and diction master Nico Castel among others, and performed the roles of Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and Don Alfonso in Cosi 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 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 and Dr. Furtwängler in the world premier of The Dream Healer with UBC Opera.