Claremonter travels world as professional opera singer

Craig Colclough as Monterone in Verdi’s “Rigoletto” at the New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 2022. Photo/courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

by Andrew Alonzo |

Last month at the Joslyn Center, the Shakespeare Club of Pomona Valley welcomed Craig Colclough for a lecture about his time on some of the world’s largest and most prestigious stages.

Colclough, a 40-year-old Claremont native and resident, is an internationally recognized bass-baritone opera singer and has credits with the Los Angeles Opera, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and the Royal Opera House in London.

Colclough has toured throughout Europe, Australia, and the U.S. for the past 15 years, and recently wrapped first title character for the L.A. Opera: the role of Figaro in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.”

His first paid gig arrived just out of college, but Colclough said his career truly began in 2008, when he was hired by the L.A. Opera.

“My career started there,” he said. But then, “I had to go to Europe. I had to sing at all these other companies in order to get enough street cred to come back and star at home.”

Colclough’s credits include being cast multiple times as the title character in Verdi’s “MacBeth,” which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany. He’s also played Friedrich von Telramund in Wagner’s “Lohengrin” at the Royal Opera House in London, and Scarpia from “Tosca” at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto.

He enjoys playing the comic or the villain, but his favorite genre is comedy. “When’s it’s someone who’s just an average person I find it incredibly boring,” he said.

Colclough’s affection for opera, and theater as a whole, has deepened over his career. He’s grown to love all aspects of the job, especially the learning aspects and looseness of rehearsal.


Craig Colclough performing the title role in Verdi’s “Falstaff” in 2017 at the Arizona Opera. Photo/courtesy of Gary David Gold


“I fell in love with [theater] when I realized I loved the rehearsal process,” he said. “I love like laying on a dirty floor writing subtext into my score. Why I continue as a career in it is because I have the best seat in the house. The thing that really nurtures my soul is the same reason I go to the theater. I could sit in the audience and watch, or I could be on stage and actually be a part of it. And that’s the real reward.”

Growing up in Claremont, Colclough played American Youth Soccer Organization soccer and Claremont Little League baseball. He was involved on the city’s teen committee in his youth and was chair during a brainstorming panel for the Village West expansion. He also volunteered for the city of trees’ summer camp program — now Camp Claremont — and played cello for the Claremont Youth Symphony Orchestra.

“I absolutely loved being part of Claremont,” he said.

He caught the theater bug at about age 10 when his aunt introduced him to “The Phantom of the Opera” soundtrack. Years later in junior high, Colclough saw Claremont High School’s production of “The Secret Garden.”

“It was so beyond anything that I had seen live, and it was such an atypical production for a high school,” he said. “As a junior higher I was watching it and I said, ‘That! I’m going to do that for the rest of my life.’”

Craig Colclough as Monterone in Verdi’s “Rigoletto” at the New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 2022. Photo/courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

He attended Chaparral Elementary and El Roble Intermediate schools before graduating with the CHS class of 2000. He boasts about his time with the CHS Theatre Department and its former leader, Krista Elhai. As a senior, he won the solo musical theatre category at the California State Thespian Festival. It was the first standing ovation of his career.

In 2004 he earned a bachelor’s degree from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands. He had planned to study musical theater, but instead found his love for opera.

“I realized I wasn’t a good enough dancer and that my voice just kept getting louder and louder,” he said.

Then Redlands’ musical theater bachelor’s program was disbanded.

“I was too young to realize that if I really wanted to do musical theater then I would just need to transfer schools and find another path,” he said. “[Redlands] classical music department was still up and running and excellent, so I just began to transition.”

While at Redlands, Colclough studied with international operatic tenor and Claremont resident Roger Paterson. The biggest challenge Colclough faced was the language barrier, or “having to sing in at least three or four languages on any given day,” he said.

Bass-baritone opera singer and Claremont native Craig Colclough, 40, delivers a lecture during the Shakespeare Club of Pomona Valley’s March meeting at the Joslyn Center. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

Over the last decade, he’s worked throughout the world. He said European audiences are fond of American talent, and vice versa.

He typically takes a new gig every two months but is currently enjoying down time at his Claremont home with his wife Amanda and their three children, Connor, 13, Samantha, 9, and Fenton, 5.

Next up is a summer tour in Austria, then Colclough is back in California for “Don Giovanni” at the Los Angeles Opera beginning September 23. Tickets and show information are at Following that he will head to Sweden to debut as the Flying Dutchman in “Flygande Holländaren,” a role he’s wanted to play for years.


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