News

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

 

| September 24 & 26, 2021 |

Bach Tenor Arias

Victoria Baroque
Victoria BC

 

| Broadcast May 2021 |

The Small Rain
Recital with original music and poetry

with Alexander Weimann, keyboards

Early Music Vancouver
Watch here.

 

| Broadcast January 2021 |

Poulenc: The Human Voice
in Isaiah's original English adaptation

with Roger Parton, piano

City Opera Vancouver
Watch here.

Recently

 

POSTPONED: COVID

| March 20-28, 2021 |

Julien Bilodeau & Michel Marc Bouchard:
La beauté du monde

with
Julie Boulianne
Philippe Sly
Marc Hervieux
Layla Claire
Elliot Madore
France Bellemare
Jean-Michel Richer
Isaiah Bell
&
Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor

Opéra de Montréal
Théâtre Maisonneuve, Montreal

 

POSTPONED: COVID

| January 28-30, 2021 |

Isaiah Bell:
THE BOOK OF MY SHAMES

in a new arrangement for chamber orchestra

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

Presented by Opera Kelowna
and the Living Things Festival

 

POSTPONED: COVID

| May 31, 2020 |

Schubert: Schwanengesang

Michael McMahon, piano

Société d’art vocal de Montréal
Montreal, Quebec

 

POSTPONED: COVID

| May 6, 2020 |

Paul Moravec/Mark Campbell: A Nation of Others

Kent Tritle, conductor

Oratorio Society of New York
Carnegie Hall

 

POSTPONED: COVID

| April 30 & May 1, 2020 |

Isaiah Bell: The Book of My Shames

with
Robert Holliston, piano
&
Sean Guist, director

presented by
Intrepid Theatre
and
Pacific Opera Victoria
Victoria, BC

 

POSTPONED: COVID
| April 11-19, 2020 |

Handel: The Resurrection

with
Meghan Lindsay
Carla Huhtanen
Allyson McHardy
&
Stephen Hegedus

Opera Atelier
Koerner Hall, Toronto