News

2022-2023 Season

Season brochures are coming out! Some of Isaiah’s upcoming engagements include the world premiere of Julien Bilodeau and Michel Marc Bouchard’s La beauté du monde at Opéra de Montréal, concerts with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, and Symphony Nova Scotia, recitals with the Valley Concert Society and the Société d’art vocal de Montréal, and a new arrangement of Isaiah’s solo show The Book of My Shames with Pacific Opera Victoria. Check back for more announcements as they come, including further Canadian Shames dates, a directorial outing, and appearances with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra!

See the Schedule page for details.

 

Midsummer, Iowa

Isaiah makes his debut at Des Moines Metro Opera with a return to the role of Lysander in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He last sang Lysander in Metz, France, in 2016, “distinguish[ing] himself through his seductive timbre and remarkable singing.”

See the Schedule page for details.

 

the small rain: Recital

Isaiah curates an interconnected program of folk songs, Baroque arias, art songs, and his own music and poetry, recorded at the Chan Centre in Vancouver for Early Music Vancouver.

 

La voix humaine

Among other pandemic-era projects, Isaiah translated and adapted Poulenc’s one-person opera LA VOIX HUMAINE for a filmed production through City Opera Vancouver.  This opera was a popular subject for opera companies in 2020 due in part to its thematic focus on the relationship of technology to human disconnection – how it can seem to bring us closer, but can never truly replace the real thing. This new version reimagines VOIX in a contemporary gay context (featuring Isaiah in the lead role instead of the soprano it was conceived for), and is set in a shuttered theatre during the pandemic.

Watch it here.

 

Isaiah hosts “This is My Music”

The episode of This is My Music hosted and curated by Isaiah is available to stream (in Canada only) on the CBC website until late 2021.

 

The Book of My Shames  remounted

After a critically acclaimed run in Toronto and Vancouver in 2019, and the pandemic-postponement of the premiere of a redeveloped version in 2020, a shiny new version of THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES begins a new tour (COVID permitting) in 2021, with potential dates in Kelowna, BC (See the Schedule page), Victoria, BC, and Regina, SK.

Read more about THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES.

 

Virtual Messiahs

In place of the usual Christmas spate of live productions of Handel’s Messiah, Isaiah sang in two reduced filmed versions this year – one concert of favourite selections with the virtual opera production company OperaBox, and a live-streamed performance of Part I with small ensemble (and the soloists singing all the choruses!) with Victoria Baroque. The latter is available to be streamed for free through mid-January 2021.

 

The Book of My Shames in Victoria  (POSTPONED)

After a successful run in Toronto and Vancouver in 2019, THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES comes to Victoria, BC, in a redeveloped production with more new music. The work will be co-presented by Pacific Opera Victoria at Intrepid Theatre’s UNO Fest, with Robert Holliston at the piano.

Read more about THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES.

 

The Book of My Shames in review

More responses to THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES in Toronto: “funny, poignant, thoughtful, raw and honest” (Confluence Concerts); “touching, very funny, disturbing, and sometimes quite revolting” (Opera Ramblings). “Takes you around crazy turns and corners…” (Schmopera) “The flexibility on display, the ease with which Bell could connect, have us laughing our heads off? Very impressive.” (Barczablog) “Bell’s tale is one of small answers that speak bravely of truths that are bigger than all of us.” “He made the themes… of his life echo in our own recollections.” (Toronto Star) “Go see it.

Read more about THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES.

 

Toronto Star Review: The Book of My Shames

In response to the debut of Isaiah’s solo-show, The Book of My Shames,  the Toronto Star states “the confessional one-person show has to be an actor’s greatest challenge. Done wrong, the performance wallows in self-indulgence. Done right, one person’s perspective can illuminate other lives. Young Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell…achieves the latter in The Book of My Shames.”

Read the full review here.

 

Rossini in Vancouver

Isaiah makes his debut at Vancouver Opera with a return to the role of Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, opposite the Rosina of Julie Boulianne.

See the Schedule page for details.

 

Handel’s Resurrection with Opera Atelier

Isaiah returns to Opera Atelier in Spring 2020 as St. John in Handel’s early masterpiece The Resurrection.

See the Schedule page for details.

 

Messiah with the Toronto Symphony

Isaiah returns to the Toronto Symphony for Mozart’s arrangement of Handel’s Messiah in December 2019, with conductor Alexander Shelley and soloists Jane Archibald, Emily D’Angelo, and Russell Braun.

See the Schedule page for details.

 

Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian

In the fall of 2018, Isaiah originated the role of Antinous, Hadrian’s doomed lover, alongside Thomas Hampson, Karita Mattila, Ambur Braid and Ben Heppner in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian at the Canadian Opera Company. The New York Times commended his “sweet-voiced” and “daring” performance, and, in Opera News: “the impressive Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell sang with a high, well-rounded, English-style tenor that suited a haughty young male on the brink of manhood.”

 

Profile in Opera Canada

Opera Canada magazine published a profile of Isaiah, by Joseph So, in a recent issue. Read it here.

 

Curlew River at BAM

Isaiah revisited the role of the Madwoman in Mark Morris’ production of Curlew River, giving what The New York Times described as “a performance of exquisite poignancy.” The piece was paired with Morris’ Dido and Aeneas, starring internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as both Dido and the Sorceress.

 

Review: Handel in San Francisco

Bell boasts a strong, glorious voice with heroic, oratorio-style ring. Soaring easily into light sweetness at the start of the duet, he subsequently demonstrated that he can produce multiple colors lower in the range and darken his instrument to proclaim with authority when necessary…Bell’s sound is so classic English, and so fresh, that one can simply hope that he will sing as wonderfully as he did on Friday for decades to come.

San Francisco Classical Voice, reviewing Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day with Philharmonia Baroque.

 

Marlow in Heart of Darkness: Review

The San Francisco Chronicle, reviewing the American premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness at Opera Parallèle, described Isaiah’s performance in the lead role of Marlow as “sung with exquisite lyricism and an air of heroism…” Read the whole review here.

 

Mendelssohn with the Vancouver Symphony: Review

Seen and Heard International, reviewing the Vancouver Symphony’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 (“Lobgesang“), said:

Isaiah Bell was quite stunning in his vocal subtlety and strength. Bell’s voice is so pure and full, with such a lovely ring and evenness in his tone production. His renderings of both “Saget es, die ihr erlöst seid…” and “Stricke des Todes” were events in themselves, and added noticeably to the electricity of the proceedings.

Read the whole review here.

Next Performing

 

| August 6, 2022 |

Vancouver Bach Festival:
The Tea-Table Miscellany

Songs of the Scottish Baroque

Early Music Vancouver

 

| November 19-27, 2022 |

WORLD PREMIERE

Julien Bilodeau & Michel Marc Bouchard:
La beauté du monde

Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor

Opéra de Montréal

 

Recently

 

| July 2, 10, 15 & 23, 2022 |

Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Role: Lysander

Des Moines Metro Opera

 

| May 13-14 & 20-21, 2022 |
Bethlehem Bach Festival:
St. Matthew Passion
Mass in B Minor

Greg Funfgeld, conductor

Bach Choir of Bethlehem

 

| May 9, 2022 |

Mendelssohn: Elijah

Kent Tritle, conductor

Oratorio Society of New York
Carnegie Hall

 

| April 29, 2022 |

Isaiah Bell:
THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES

arranged for orchestra

Isaiah Bell: tenor, writer, composer
Sean Guist, director

Presented by Regina Symphony Orchestra
in their Forward Currents Festival