This week, Craig Colclough ’04 made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role of MacBeth, but at one time he was a first-year student at the University of Redlands who had never considered becoming an opera singer.
A cellist initially, Colclough fell in love with musical theater in high school, which eventually brought him to Redlands. When Colclough learned the University no longer offered a musical theater major, he turned to the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, which introduced him to wide-ranging disciplines and expanded his thinking.
Colclough credits a strong liberal arts education with his evolution both at the University and beyond. “I absolutely fell in love with writing my own curriculum and collaborating with professors,” he said. “I also studied world religion and took a sculpture class, I was able to do a lot of cross-disciplinary things that helped form me as an artist and human being.”
After graduation, Colclough stayed at the University to continue studying opera and allow his voice to mature. Colclough and his wife, Amanda Gillette Colclough ’03, were working on their master’s degrees in vocal performance when Colclough was hired by the LA Opera.
After performing various roles in Los Angeles, he later joined the Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artist Studio and became a Filene Young Artist at the Wolf Trap Opera Company.
Over the years, he has played a wide variety of roles—from the lead in Don Pasquale with the Arizona Opera to the title role in Falstaff for the San Francisco Opera.
His performances have elicited reviews such as this one from the Minnesota Playlist: "Leading man Craig Colclough was tremendous: With equal attention given to his singing and his acting, he was both impressive and hilarious. His ‘pantaloon’ character of a buffoon demanded a great deal of physical humor which was delivered with ease."
Or this one from Schmopera: “It was Craig Colclough’s Kurwenal that stole the show. A role debut for him, his enormous sound felt wonderfully offensive in act I, and act III seemed to belong to him. His voice is a thrilling, bright bass-baritone, and he was all at once heartbreaking and a much-needed source of comic relief."
For the current season, Colclough has joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera, covering the title role in Macbeth, which he also performs at Opera Vlaanderen. At the Arizona Opera, he makes a role debut as Bishop Dyer in Riders of the Purple Sage and, at the Los Angeles Opera, he assumes the title role in Le nozze di Figaro. Next season will include performances with Washington National Opera and Opera Vlaanderen.
“I love the music and getting to act,” he said. “I enjoy creating and moving and thinking artistically. It’s a full-body experience.”
On the day of Colclough's Metropolitan Opera debut, fellow Bulldog Angel Joy Blue '05—who was cast in the title role for another Met show, Porgy and Bess, playing the same week—cheered him on via her Facebook page: "Tonight, Craig is making his @metopera debut as Macbeth in MACBETH!!!! Everyone please join me in wishing him a HUGE Toi, Toi, Toi!!! So happy for you, buddy!! Go get 'em! OCH TAMALE!!! BULLDOGS!!!"