News

 

Return to the Canadian Opera Company

Isaiah will re-create the role of Johan Oxenstierna in Julien Bilodeau and Michel Marc Bouchard’s La Reine-garçon at the Canadian Opera Company in February 2025. Reviews of the opera’s 2024 Opéra de Montréal premiere highlighted “le délicieux Isaiah Bell”, “physically and vocally agile”, “who stole my heart.” Also: “This young man has immense stage presence and is endowed with a powerful and beautiful instrument. Watch out for him – stardom awaits.”

See the Schedule page for details.

 

2022-2023 Season

Season brochures are coming out! Some of Isaiah’s upcoming engagements include Acis and Galatea with Philharmonia Baroque at Tanglewood and Caramoor; concerts with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, and Symphony Nova Scotia; a recital with the Valley Concert Society; and a new arrangement of Isaiah’s solo show The Book of My Shames (touring to Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Kelowna, and City Opera Vancouver). He also directs a Charpentier’s Actéon for the UVic Voice Ensemble, and returns to Opéra de Montréal for another world premiere.

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.

 

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

 

| March 22-24, 2024 |

Mozart: Requiem

Peter Oundjian, conductor

Colorado Symphony

 

| May 18, 2024 |

Haydn: Creation

Otto Tausk, Conductor

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

 

Recently

 

| February 3-11, 2024 |

WORLD PREMIERE

Julien Bilodeau & Michel Marc Bouchard: La Reine-garçon

Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor

Opéra de Montréal

 

| January 7, 2024 |

THE TRAVELLER:
Schumann's Liederkreis, op. 39
with original & traditional songs

Michael McMahon, piano

Société d'art vocal de Montréal

 

| December 21, 2023 |

Handel: Messiah

Su-Han Yang, conductor

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

 

| December 16-17, 2023 |

Handel: Messiah

Taylor Martin, conductor

Colorado Symphony

 

| December 8-9, 2023 |

Handel: Messiah

Nicholas McGegan, conductor

Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

 

| December 1-2, 2023 |

Handel: Messiah

Nicholas McGegan, conductor

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra