Neil Craighead makes his Pacific Opera Victoria debut as Truffaldino in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos.
Neil Craighead was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but grew up in Calgary. He began his love for singing with the Calgary Boys' Choir under the tutelage of Gerald Wirth, a world class choral director and composer now with the Vienna Boys Choir. He studied voice throughout his youth and attended the after school Academy program at Mount Royal College.
After a brief venture into the field of computer science, Mr. Craighead auditioned and was accepted into the University of British Columbia’s Music School. While at UBC he studied with Canadian baritone Peter Barcza and began his passion for opera with his first role as the Speaker in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. He participated in tours and performances in Austria, the Czech Republic and China and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Opera.
In the summers of 2008 and 2009, Mr. Craighead attended the Opera NUOVA Vocal Arts Festival in Edmonton. He studied with Canadian baritone John Fanning and diction master Nico Castel amongst others, and performed the roles of Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte.
Mr. Craighead joined the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio in the fall of 2009 and began his professional apprenticeship. It is through the COC that Mr. Craighead connected with his current teacher, acclaimed New Brunswick soprano, Wendy Nielsen. He also regularly works with Marlena Malas of the Curtis institute and baritone Tim Noble.
COC appearances include Sciarrone in Tosca, the Usher in Rigoletto and Pinellino in Gianni Schicchi as well as understudying roles in Iphigenia in Tauris and Semele. Mr. Craighead graduated from the COC Ensemble Studio at the end of the 2012/13 season, during which he appeared as a Cappadocian in Salome, the Jailer in Dialogues des Carmélites, and Publio in the Ensemble Studio performance of La clemenza di Tito. He understudied roles in Il Trovatore, Tristan und Isolde, La clemenza di Tito, Salome, and Dialogues des Carmélites.
Recent credits include the Second Soldier in Salome with Edmonton Opera 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.