W. James Craig | The Canadian Encyclopedia


W. James Craig

William James Craig, conductor, coach (born 21 August 1933 in Kenora, ON; died 12 April 2012 in Keewatin, ON). ARCT 1953.

W. James Craig studied composition and conducting with Walter Kaufmann in Winnipeg, then continued his training in conducting at the RAM in London, and with Luigi Ricci in Rome. He was a coach and conductor 1958-64 at the Royal Cons Opera School, conducted 1960-70 at the Banff SFA, and was music director 1968-9 of the Vancouver Opera Association Training Program. He conducted several COC productions - La Bohème in 1962, Madama Butterfly in 1964, I Pagliacci in 1966, and Eugene Onegin in 1972 - and touring productions - La Bohème in 1965 and 1968, Die Fledermaus in 1964 and 1965, and Don Pasquale in 1967. He also conducted 1966-70 at Sadler's Wells, where his repertoire included La Bohème, Don Pasquale, La Traviata, Idomeneo, and Così fan tutte. In 1971, he became head coach and conductor, then in 1976 musical director for the University of Toronto Opera Dept (Division). There he conducted Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress (1971) and the Canadian premieres of Cavalli's L'Ormindo (1973), Ward's The Crucible (1976), Janáček's Katya Kabanová (1977), Vaughan Williams' Sir John in Love (1984), and Tchaikovsky's Iolanta (1989). The productions of the last four operas listed were directed by his wife, Constance Fisher.